Lessons Learned and Pro Tips for Starting a Food Business

40 Arena Way, Suite 11
Council Bluffs, IA 51501 United States
Kitchen Council
Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (6:00 PM - 8:00 PM) (CDT)
Event Details

Small business owners often don’t know what challenges or obstacles to expect or plan for until they are faced with them. Hearing stories and learning from the growing pains of other business owners is a great way to help new entrepreneurs avoid the same mistakes. Kitchen Council is bringing three seasoned local foodies together for a panel discussion for the benefit of food startups. 

Katie Arant (Coneflower Creamery), Michelle Dill (Big Green Tomato Granola) and Philip Shaffart (The Blackstone Meatball, Pageturners and The Sports Hall) will speak to specific questions pertaining to starting their business, what surprises and challenges they met and real life advice for those of us just getting into the game.  

Cost: FREE
Ticket includes admission, networking, beverages + apps. Light bites and desserts will be provided by The Bubbly Tart.

6 – 6:30 p.m. | Registration, Bites + Beverages
6:30 – 7:30 p.m. | Program + Q/A
7:30 – 8 p.m. | Networking

Speaker Bios

Katie Arant, Coneflower Creamery

Katie has had experience creating pastries in Omaha at M's Pub, Le Voltaire and 801 Chophouse. In 2012, her career took her to Napa Valley, California, where she worked at some of the areas most renowned restaurants including Bottega, Coqueta and Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery. When Katie received a mysterious voicemail from Brian, she knew he was finally ready to open Coneflower Creamery. Her love of making ice cream brought her back to Nebraska, where her creativity and experience allows her to craft unique, locally inspired flavors.

Michelle Dill, Big Green Tomato Granola

Michelle comes with a zig-zag path that includes significant experience in sales, the nonprofit sector, and as a passionate entrepreneur. She founded her first business at the age of 19, her second at 25 and later launched a conventional career in the nonprofit sector. She and her family started Big Green Tomato a little by accident. In 2009, Michelle discovered that she had severe intolerances to egg, dairy and gluten. She found that many of her friends were dealing with similar issues. All were disappointed with the lack of options available at the stores, but few had the time, and some never learned to cook. Michelle began experimenting with recipes that were missed most and soon found her granola was a favorite. In her spare time she is the world’s okayest triathlete, cheats at gardening, cheers loudly at her daughter’s soccer games and swim meets and enjoys an ice cold martini with her husband on Friday nights.

Philip Shaffart, Blackstone Meatball, Pageturners Lounge and The Sports Hall

Philip is a serial entrepreneur, with experience opening and running several businesses in a variety of industries over the last 20 years. He got his first taste of business founding a lawn service venture with his brother when he was 21 and then a glass retail shop a few years later. Phil jumped into the world of food and beverage in 2014 when he opened Pageturners Lounge on 50th and Dodge. In 2016, he got the education of a lifetime when he opened a full service restaurant and introduced a new dining concept to Omaha with Blackstone Meatball. He's been hooked on food ever since. His most recent enterprise, The Sports Hall, opened last month in Blackstone and he has a forthcoming venture to launch later this year. 

Special thanks to our Kitchen Council supporters: 
Conagra Brands
Iowa West Foundation
Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce 
Iowa Economic Development Authority 

Need more information? Please contact Holly Benson Muller, managing director, at

Additional Information
Event Contact:
Holly Benson
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