“It’s only been 60 years in the making,” said Dan McPherson, president of the Shingle Springs Community Center. He’s talking about the new commercial kitchen facilities at the Community Center.
The commercial kitchen boasts a Montague Grizzly six-burner range with two ovens and grill, a colossal True commercial refrigerator, microwave, commercial sink with floor drain, a hand washing sink, commercial hood and ancillary fire system.
On Wednesday, Feb. 5, Yellow Button Bakery’s Brenda McDavid was baking almond scones and almond raspberry bars in the new kitchen.
“I just started my business, Yellow Button, and I bake gluten-free products,” said McDavid. “I’m certified to use my home kitchen, but having a commercial kitchen to use when I’m making vast quantities is great.”
It’s just the kind of business that SSCC hoped to attract when they made the decision to upgrade their old kitchen to a commercial kitchen about a year and a half ago.
The Community Center was built in the 1950s, the vision of a group of Shingle Springs residents who wanted to provide a community space for entertainment and socializing. They built it on four acres of land donated by Don and Ruth Barnett and funded it with white elephant sales, sales of floor wax and vanilla extract, bake sales, selling chances for donated articles, donkey and goat rides, door-to-door $1 donations and materials donated by Placerville merchants.
With a football/soccer field, a hall with a capacity for 325, a horseshoe pavilion and a kitchen, the SSCC always had a lot to offer. Rentals of the facilities for parties, receptions, memorials, picnics and many other events helped pay for the utilities and overhead, but with the economy going south, something else needed to be done.
More and more people are trying their hand at their own food-related businesses and meeting the requirements for commercial certification can be expensive. With the addition of a commercial kitchen to their facility, SSCC hoped to keep their center open and offer something to the community.
Before they could begin on a kitchen, SSCC had to replace the floor and roof.
“Someone rented the hall and had a foam party in it and it wrecked the wood floor underneath the linoleum,” said McPherson. “Then we noticed the roof sagging and found that one of the trusses had broken from the weight of the snow we had a few years ago.”
Insurance and the generosity of SSCC members like Straightline Roofing and Randy Tames replaced the floor, the roof and repaired the bathrooms. Then it was on to the kitchen. Again, community members like carpenter Ken Brown, whose father was one of the founding SSCC members, helped out with their skills. Money from facility rental and the nest egg accrued by SSCC when it was used by the county as a seniors feeding center helped with the $20,000 price tag.
“We have a lot of community support,” said McPherson. “We want the Center to be a part of people’s lives, the way it was when it was built. When it was first founded, you had to live in the Buckeye School District to be a member, but our members come from all around now.”
For McDavid, it’s about being in the know in a small community. After 20 years in the restaurant industry, McDavid decided there was an opportunity for her own business. She heard about the availability of the kitchen from plumber Randy Tames.
“When I moved out from Madison, Wis. I thought California, with its reputation for health, would have all kinds of gluten-free bakeries, but there is nothing in this area. There are gluten-free foods in the grocery stores, but if you want a pastry in a coffee house, there isn’t much offered,” she said. McDavid plans to target small markets like coffee houses and senior communities for her fresh-baked pastries.
The Shingle Springs Community Center is a vibrant community resource with monthly dances, DJed by SSCC board member Jamie Faw, family game nights where families bring board games to the Center to play and socialize, fashion shows, tailgate sales in the parking lot, community events and, of course, rentals.
“We try to keep the costs down and make it easy, convenient and affordable for anyone to use,” said McPherson.”We want people to take advantage of the facility.”
To find out more about the Shingle Springs Community Center, visit the Website at shinglespringscommunitycenter.org. To contact Brenda McDavid about her gluten-free products, call 530-676-1598.
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.