Abbie Cates stands in the kitchen of KnifeForkSpoon in Gig Harbor shortly after opening in January. Cates is now looking to expand her business to the wholesale realm with the help of the Kitsap Bank Edg3 fund competition, where she is a semifinalist. Joshua Bessex jbessex@gateline.com
Abbie Cates stands in the kitchen of KnifeForkSpoon in Gig Harbor shortly after opening in January. Cates is now looking to expand her business to the wholesale realm with the help of the Kitsap Bank Edg3 fund competition, where she is a semifinalist. Joshua Bessex jbessex@gateline.com

Gateway: News

Gig Harbor business competes for $20K, looks toward wholesale expansion

By Andrea Haffly

ahaffly@gateline.com

September 21, 2017 9:58 AM

Things are heating up for Gig Harbor-based business KnifeForkSpoon, a frozen meal company run by Abbie Cates that opened its doors in January.

Barely nine months after beginning her quest to make healthy eating easier for busy people on the go, Cates is now looking to expand her business to the wholesale realm with the help of the Kitsap Bank Edg3 fund competition, where she is a semifinalist.

“The whole reason I started the company was to make people’s lives easier,” she said. “I can touch a whole bunch more people if I head into the wholesale market.”

The whole reason I started the company was to make peoples lives easier. I can touch a whole bunch more people if I head into the wholesale market.

Abbie Cates, owner of KnifeForkSpoon

Kitsap Bank’s Edg3 fund is a small business competition designed to provide $20K in funding to help local entrepreneurs and grow the local economy. Applicants must be Western Washington-based businesses and legal residents of Western Washington over the age of 18.

KnifeForkSpoon is the only Gig Harbor or Pierce County business that has made the semifinalist list. The voting period for the finalists began Monday and will continue through Sept. 29.

Voting is held online at kitsapbank.com/edg3-fund in a two-step process where voters first pick their favorite business and then verify their email to confirm their vote. Five finalists will be notified by Oct. 6 and be invited to a live event on Nov. 16, where a panel of judges will choose the grand prize winner.

We are pleased to announce that the "Sweet 16" #edg3FUND Semifinalists have been selected! Learn More: https://t.co/7dhyOzqaUg pic.twitter.com/e0lR5ae3uM

— Kitsap Bank (@KitsapBank) August 16, 2017

Regardless of winning the competition, Cates said she still plans to move forward into the wholesale market.

“I think (wholesale) is the way to impact as many people as possible,” she said. “To live with the founding principals I have for my business ... (then) I have to move forward with wholesale.”

KnifeForkSpoon works to make healthy mealtimes easy and stress-free with healthy, pre-made frozen meals that can be easily cooked and served. Menu option vary from week to week and include breakfast items, main dishes and side dishes, including vegetables.

“I keep variety so it’s different every week,’ she said. “I know if my kids will eat the vegetables, then anyone on the planet will.”

Cates has already begun gathering more equipment to meet the demands of wholesale production and has created updated packaging to feature her meals. She is in conversation with some major retailers, but remains close-lipped on exactly who might be interested in her products.

I want the simplicity to be the underlying factor. It’s simple, real whole food. I want when people see KnifeForkSpoon boxes, they know what they’re getting from a quality perspective.

Cates

To meet the employee needs for an expansion, Cates has contacted Trillium Employment Services, a Washington nonprofit that helps locate job opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities within their communities.

“All these things are lined up so that when the time comes we can just pull the trigger,” she said. “I never thought I would have these conversations and be considering anything beyond retail.”

With the popularity of her food consistently growing, Cates remains enthusiastic about bringing her simple and direct approach to meals to families and individuals throughout the South Sound.

“I want the simplicity to be the underlying factor. It’s simple, real whole food,” she said. “I want when people see KnifeForkSpoon boxes, they know what they’re getting from a quality perspective.”

KnifeForkSpoon is located at 2609 Jahn Ave, Suite F5 in Gig Harbor. It can be reached at 253-514-8564 or online at frozenknifeforkspoon.com.

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea

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