Keitra Bates

Westside Innovation Fellow 2016




Provide healthier food options and preserve the culinary culture of the Westside.


Marddy’s, short for “Market Buddy’s,” is a local shared kitchen and marketplace. Home cooks on the Westside of Atlanta communities are at risk of losing market share due to gentrification. Because of shifting demographics, their customer base is being displaced by higher earning newcomers and their traditional distribution channels are closing. Although they earn higher wages, the newcomers do not frequent the business where the home cooks are allowed to peddle their offerings. During the six months of her fellowship, Keitra networked with industry professionals, developed her business plan, and ran a pilot program for local food entrepreneurs. Marddy’s uses underutilized restaurant space to help small food-based vendors access a shared kitchen space and marketplace to prepare and sell their offerings.


Growing up, Keitra’s family ran a small neighborhood pizza shop. After their building was purchased by new owners in the area, they were forced to look for another location. Several Black businesses that’d been operating for years were also priced out of the neighborhood. In response to the consequences of gentrification she experienced and observed, Keitra started Marddy’s to support small businesses and home cooks and to keep the “culinary traditions” of the neighborhood alive.