The Chow Brothers LLC
A loan of $10,000 helps Chris purchase equipment needed for food service and sales at farmer’s markets and refinance debt.
I grew up in the city of Chicago where my parents moved from Poland 45 years ago. They taught me the value of school (they could not attend college), hard work (I think they had 4 jobs growing up), and cooking with fresh ingredients (my mom grew up on a farm)!
I started my first business in College and took that company national as the Operations Director – a moving company called Collegeboxes.com – to over 35 campuses across the country and ultimately sold to Uhaul.
My career after that focused on operations and technology project management in the market research industry. My creative side brought me closer to food via photography, which had also been a passion of mine since youth. I started my own photography business in 2009 and have shot for Edible Magazine, Food & Wine Magazine and several cookbook authors.
In 2013, I was able to take a sabbatical to be trained in Classic Culinary Arts at the Bay Area campus of the International Culinary Center (founded as the French Culinary Institute) and have freelance worked in a handful of Michelin Star and charcuterie kitchens.
I am graduate of Northwestern University, an entrepreneur who was molded in Chicago and now calls San Francisco home. My wife and I will be moving back to Chicago so that I may work more closely with my brother to make The Chow Brothers thrive. I want to make a positive impact in the local and food communities.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
The Chow Brothers is a family owned and run food product business. Our revenue is derived from catering, private cheffing, and food sales in retail, wholesale, and farmer’s markets.
We are inspired by family and our central European heritage and driven by sustainability to create premium, distinctive food. We take pride in innovating classics and (re)introducing them to new audiences.
While sharing exceptional food is at our core, our goal is for our food to act as a catalyst to bring people together and have fun. Our tag line is “Better Together”, that speaks to us both as brothers and the community as a whole.
My brother and business partner, Mark Chowaniec, shares all of my food related passions while maintaining a strong foothold in the technology sector. When combining our backgrounds, The Chow Brothers has all of the guidance and dedication to provide quality products while delivering exceptional food. We strongly believe that stewardship within the food system is recognizing all the pillars of sustainability; respect of the food system, environment, health, social structures, and practical economics.
The Chow Brothers first started the business as a way to cook for others and host fund raising events in 2012, then in 2014, after I finished culinary school we rebranded and focused the business on our food products. Our biggest challenges to date have been state regulations including organic and canning certifications, reducing kitchen rental fees, and production costs.
We are very proud of the community of followers that we have built stemming from our events and Barnraiser (the crowdfunding platform we used for our rebranding and startup costs), our ability to pay homage to our parents and cultural history, and we look forward to a future where we can share our passion and food with an even greater community!
What is the purpose of this loan?
1. We will be investing $20,000 to cover the purchase of a pierogi (dumpling) machine that will produce our gourmet, sustainably sourced pierogi and cover equipment to prepare and sell pierogi at local markets. We need $10,000 from the Kiva community to help pay for additional food service equipment and market/festival operations and refinance debt from the purchase of this machine along with some of the rebranding costs (logos, labels, trademarks, website) we incurred last fall.
2. We cannot sufficiently supply our retail, food service, festival, and farmer’s market supply chains with our current manual processes and lack of equipment. Our commercial kitchen and labor rates are be cost prohibitive without the pierogi machine. We have throughly researched the machine that will best suit our needs and budget to increases our production rate twenty fold.
3. This loan would be a game changer for us! It would enable us to become profitable so we can reinvest in more pierogi opportunities as well as our other pickled and fermented product lines.
4. The plan for our projected revenue is to allow my business partner to work on the business full time within 6 months, expand in the greater Chicago area and find sustainable famers and suppliers. Lastly, we plan to put together an advisory and investor board to determine the best course for expanding our operations.
Years in operation: 1 year – 3 years