What do a brewpub, coffee shop, commercial kitchen, pop-up restaurant, and nine spaces for artists to sell their works have in common? They’ll all be under one roof at the soon-to-open Kutzky Market in Rochester, Minnesota.
The market is the brainchild of Annie Henderson, a former teacher and current arts advocate and real estate appraiser. The basic idea behind the market is simple: “We really want to showcase the talent in the area and give other entrepreneurs the opportunity to shine and have a platform to work from,” Henderson said.
After helping launch Rochester’s speakeasy, The Doggery, Henderson sold her shares in the business and started looking for her next project. “I had the opportunity to invest the money back into something Rochester needed,” she said.
That project surfaced as Kutzky Market. Named for the neighborhood it calls home (Kutzky Park), the market situates a variety of businesses in one relatively dense footprint. The set-up will hopefully create unique synergies among the businesses and allow each to grow on its own while contributing to the overall success of the market.
“It’s kind of like a little business incubator,” Henderson said.
Take the leasable commercial kitchen for example. Bakers and chefs who rent it out will be able to sell their goods in the adjacent coffee shop and “Made In House” store, free of commission. Those who rent the pop-up restaurant space will be able to use the kitchen for prep. One couple considering opening a Thai restaurant in Rochester will be renting the kitchen and restaurant on a weekly basis to test recipes.
There are nine spots for local artists to set up shops within the market, but Henderson isn’t just providing them with space. Artists will sign three-month leases—both to guarantee the market stays an ever-changing space and to ensure flexibility for artists who may leery of getting stuck in a longterm deal. Upon signing, they’ll receive free consultations from an accountant, lawyer, graphic designer, and web expert, all with the goal of helping the artist establish their personal brands and gain a solid base from which to grow their work. In addition, Kutzky Market employees will staff the cash registers and float among the shops, making it so the exhibiting artists won’t need to be present at all times.
In addition to exhibiting artists, Kutzky Market will also have an artist-in-residence program. The plan is to feature a rotating artist who will work in a public space in the market for a set numbers of hours per week. The overall goal of this focus on art at Kutzky Market, Henderson says, is to support artists so they can focus on their craft full time.
The market will also be home to Forager Brewing Company, a brewpub whose beers will feature wild and foraged ingredients. Head brewer Austin Jevne said his goal is to make beer that displays the unique terroir of southeast Minnesota.
Not only will the beer at Kutzky Market focus on foraged ingredients from the Rochester area, but the space and decor at Forager will also include a mishmash of reclaimed Rochester history. Its building, for example, used to house the beloved Good Foods Store co-op. One of the brewery’s artistic centerpieces is a 15-by-15-foot mural by local artist Bobby Marines, which he painted on the side of an iconic old barn that was located in the Rochester city limits before it was torn down. When Michael’s Restaurant closed in downtown Rochester after more then 60 years in business, Henderson salvaged some of the gargoyle light fixtures that locals will surely recognize. The bar for Forager’s taproom—which features a brass rail adorned with elephants—was purchased from the taproom manager who bought it from the Rochester Country Club 15 years ago.
And then there’s the stove that was owned by a member of the Mayo family and will be a working part of the leasable kitchen.
Tami Enfield’s marketing consulting firm Brand Yourself has been working with Henderson to brand Forager and Kutzky and launch their respective online presences. She points to social media posts like this as a key to both brands’ early success in building audiences online before the businesses open. “They’re really allowing their audience to be part of the conversation, which has created a strong brand for them,” she said. “They have so much history in the building—each piece will have a story to tell—so it feels like it’s owned by everybody. People are seeing the story as it’s being built.”
Thanks, in part, to chronicling the process of opening Kutzky Market and Forager Brewing on their social media channels, Henderson said she’s received a tremendous amount of support from the community, which suits her vision perfectly. “I’m hopeful it will become a community hub for like-minded people,” she said. “I want it to be a place people can come at 6am for their morning coffee, get some work done, have lunch and meetings there, and stay later for a beer.”
Soft openings are slated for late August; Kutzky Market is set to officially open September 1. The market is located at 1001 6th St NW in Rochester.