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Heartland Reps Opens Culinary Education Center

Location suitable for meetings, training and other foodservice-related activities.

Heartland Reps, a Midwestern independent manufacturers' rep firm, opened a test kitchen and culinary education center in Kansas City, Mo.

The new facility features products from many of the 19 lines Heartland reps, including a walk-in refrigerator, a ventless hood, electric fryer with filtration, griddle, induction cooktop, combi oven and a charbroiler. The firm hopes to add products over time, according to Rocky Brock, one of Heartland's three principals.

For example, Heartland expects having a culinary education center will help them better exhibit the features and benefits of energy efficient equipment or more complex items, such as combi ovens. "Just going in and talking to customers about this kind of equipment won't get it done," Brock says. "If you are going to make a big investment in that equipment you want to see it work first."

The facility also features rooms that the rep firm will make available to operators and other foodservice companies in the area for meetings, training and the like. In addition, Brian McGonagle, a Heartland principal, has experience working as an executive chef and is available to work with those individuals testing equipment in the test kitchen.

"So far, the facility has been very well received," says Brock, who adds that the rep firm hopes to open a similar location in St. Louis in the future.