Wednesday, February 8, 2023 from 5:00pm – 7:30pm

Culinary Conversations: Tales from Retail

Branding? Check. Licensing? Check. Access to sales? …No? 

Join us on Wednesday, February 8 from 5pm-7:30pm in the Downtown Market Banquet Room and gain insight directly from three major vendors and a local business who's done it all!

February 8, 2023 in the Downtown Market Banquet Room



Moderator: Kendra Wills, MSU-Product Center
Kendra Wills is a MSU Product Center Innovation Counselor and provides support for new or expanding food business owners. She also provides technical support to farmers markets and healthy food projects. Kendra Wills has served with Michigan State University Extension in Kent County for over 20 years. As an educator, she has worked in a variety of areas including: farmland preservation, land use planning and zoning education, farm-to-school, youth gardening, food council development, community organizing and food business counseling/coaching. Kendra holds a Bachelor's of Science degree from Michigan State University in environmental studies and a Master of Sustainable Business degree from Aquinas College.

Dana Eardley, Fulton Street Farmers Market
Dana is the Executive Director of the Fulton Street Farmers Market. For the past decade, Dana has been dedicated to supporting local farmers and entrepreneurs with the goal of building a more resilient and equitable food system in West Michigan.

Kavy Lennon, Meijer
Kavy Lenon serves as the Supplier Diversity Manager for Meijer. For the past decade, Kavy has been a contributor in promoting growth of diverse owned businesses through various opportunities by coaching, educating, advocating, and community outreach. Kavy diligently works to create innovative ways to help raise internal and external awareness and connect diverse owned businesses with buyers, corporate partners, and business partners.

Khara DeWit, South East Market
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai'i, Khara grew up immersed in a rich, diverse culture in the islands. Grand Rapids has been home 17 years and counting as a social entrepreneur building business and financial acumen for startups and nonprofits.  As co-Founder of South East Market, her love for cultivating community and her own healing journey using food as medicine fuels her dream to see social determinants of health shift in the 49507.  You can also find Khara with her three sons and partner at the beach or on a hike, growing food in her backyard and cooking up her obaasan's Japanese recipes. 

Eric MacAulay and Taylor Ballek, Let’s Stay Home Cocktail Kits
Let’s Stay Home Cocktail Kits was created by a husband and wife duo in the confines of their home in Grand Rapids, MI, during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Eric, a seasoned bartender and cocktail enthusiast, started making delicious drinks for him and his wife, Taylor, to safely enjoy on their couch & patio. They quickly realized how much fun they were having creating the drink mixes, and found that using fresh, local ingredients truly made their cocktails shine. Thus, Let’s Stay Home Cocktail Kits was born so they could share the love of making cocktails and mocktails at home.

By registering for Culinary Conversations events, you permit the use of your image (including, but not limited to photographs, audio recordings, or videos), without charge and without reservation—all or a portion of your story, likeness, and voice in future Downtown Market promotion.

The Culinary Conversations MeetUp group is a partnership between the Grand Rapids Downtown Market Education Foundation, GROW, MSU Extension, and Start Garden.

This is a Special Event event. Click here to learn more.