MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Masonic Building of Marquette is the recipient of a $49,800 Michigan Department of Agriculture Value Added and Regional Food Systems grant to expand equipment offerings for local food entrepreneurs over the next three years.

The Masonic Arts, Theatre and Innovation Company (MATI)’s mission is to “provide the community with a creative, collaborative hub to share their vision with the public and promote innovation through all art mediums.” One of their offerings is a shared kitchen for local food entrepreneurs.

Ryan Engle, Masonic Building Manager, and MATI President says the funds will be used for expanding and upgrading the kitchen equipment selection, providing increased cold and lockable dry storage space, and adding freezer carts or trikes that allow members to sell their cold products directly to consumers during summer months.

“We also plan to add a remote-access entryway and tracking system to our facilities that will allow for member access 24 hours a day 7 days a week,” said Engle

Small businesses currently operating out of the kitchen include Aloha Grill, Borealis Baking Company, Davin’s Chocolate’s, Ugly Pops, & Becky’s Roadside Refreshments, & Das Pretzel Guys.

Currently, they have a donation campaign also running to bring a mobile-drive in movie program to the Central Upper Peninsula. The campaign ends August 9 at 10:45 P.M. and they are hoping to raise $17,500. The program would begin in August for the Village of Newberry. The Helen Newberry Joy Hospital and Medical Center have already donated $1000 to the campaign to host a screening fundraiser of Toy Story 4 on August 1.

If funded, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) will match the campaign through their Community Spaces Public Places program, allowing for the purchase of all-weather-ready drive in style screen and projector lenses, trailer and lift system capable of showing movies for other organizations and townships within a few hours of Marquette.

Businesses and community groups who want to be involved in the kitchen program, sponsor a MÄTI Movie Night, or volunteer to spread the word about their efforts can call Ryan Engle at 906-225-1157 or email