Hope & Main hires director, opens in August

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Hope & Main, a nonprofit culinary business incubator, has hired Julie Nahas as its Executive Director of Operations. Nahas will lead day-to-day operations of the facility as well as oversee recruitment, coaching and mentoring for the organization’s incubator program.

Nahas brings to Hope & Main a diverse and established career in the Rhode Island food and culinary industry. Owner and operator of the landmark 3 Steeple Street Restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island, from 2002 to 2009, she also managed the Pot Au Feu and former Federal Reserve restaurants.

“Julie has experience in food business management and production, and she’s passionately devoted to local, sustainable food and production practices,” says Lisa Raiola, MPH, founder of Hope & Main. “We are incredibly impressed with her vision for Hope & Main and her enthusiasm for mentoring our members. I am thrilled that she is taking the helm as we move toward our August opening.”

Hope & Main will launch with some 30 new food startups in its newly-renovated headquarters in Warren, Rhode Island, later this summer. As the state’s first food business incubator, Hope & Main will give food entrepreneurs and early-stage culinary businesses the chance to grow in their first two to three years without the cost of equipping their own commercial facilities. Food businesses accepted into the incubator program will receive extensive mentoring, access to fully-equipped and affordable work space, and immersion in an entrepreneurial environment where they can collaborate with peers and industry experts.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Hope & Main project and to work with so many inspiring entrepreneurs in the culinary industry,” Nahas says. “I’m looking forward to helping to make this a place where food startups can grow and thrive.”

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.