Springfield woman inspires new city ordinance

Local News

SPRINGFIELD — A woman with a dream to start a business out of her home finally got the news she was waiting on from Springfield City Council.

Springfield resident Rachel McGrath has her sights on a writing career, but she had to put that on hold this year.

“I am an aspiring screenwriter, but that’s not going to really bring in a lot of money right now, so I was just looking at ways to generate income,” McGrath says.

That meant starting her own business. Like any business owner, she looked for inspiration. Rachel and her husband Aaron once lived in Chile, which inspired her to make South American sweet treats, and baked goods.

She would call her business “Manjares” – a Spanish word that translates to “delicacies” in English. Not wanting to take a big loan out for a commercial kitchen, McGrath wanted to work from her own kitchen instead.

“I learned about Missouri’s cottage law, that I could bake and make non-perishable foods from my home and make money,” explains McGrath.

But it turned out, the recipe for her backup plan was missing a key ingredient. She said when she applied for a business license, she found out Springfield had certain food codes that didn’t allow it.

“I said, ‘If I’m going to do this from my home, and I’m going to do it legally, what do I do?'” McGrath wondered.

Determined to make this venture come to fruition, she called the City Planning and Zoning department and her Councilman Mike Schilling.

With the Health Department’s help, they were able to draft an ordinance, which was voted on at City Council Monday.

“I’m going to support this because this issue came up from someone in my zone that wanted to engage in this home food preparation,” said Councilman Mike Schilling.

After a vote of 6-3, McGrath can now fulfill her dream of making money out of her kitchen, which helps in other aspects of life as well.

“Working from home allows me to keep an eye on my daughter, and again – it goes back to being able to generate some income.”

Some council members cited concerns over the producer of the food not being able to be held liable just in case it gets someone sick.

Mcgrath says she has a very thorough cleaning process she does in her kitchen before and after cooking and only handles food with gloves.

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