By Linda Borg
The Providence Journal, R.I.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Mary Hughes had been toying with the idea of starting a meal service for seniors for years, but it took two programs — the Hope & Main food incubator in Warren and the Social Enterprise Greenhouse, a business accelerator in Providence — to spur her on.
Mary Hughes believes it’s never too late to launch a second or even a third career.
At age 70, after several jobs in food and nutrition, Hughes is starting her own company, Savory Fare, which offers home-cooked meals to the elderly, delivered to their doors.
“The goal is to help seniors stay in their own homes as long as possible by delivering delicious, home-delivered meals,” she said. “As my husband and I started thinking about our retirement years, we realized we wanted to stay at home as long as possible.”
For Hughes, cooking has been a passion as well as a career. She has been a personal chef for the past 10 years, preparing meals for harried parents and several older clients. As a young woman, she worked as a nutritionist for the Providence Health Center and the state Department of Health.
Hughes had been toying with the idea of starting a meal service for seniors for years, but it took two programs — the Hope & Main food incubator in Warren and the Social Enterprise Greenhouse, a business accelerator in Providence — to spur her on.
The Greenhouse, a nonprofit that partners with Brown University, offers coaching to social enterprises. Hughes enrolled in a 12-week program that helps clients refine their business plans, raise money and perfect their pitches.
Hope & Main helps new food entrepreneurs get licensed, provides them with access to commercial kitchens and storage and helps them market their products. Ultimately, it allows businesses to thrive. Ten businesses have “graduated” and opened their own facilities.