El Alba’s mission is to support, incubate, and nourish Aurora-based food entrepreneurs and small business owners. It offers culturally appropriate business incubation, shared business services via a co-op model, and shared access to a commercial kitchen and food truck to economically disadvantaged business owners.
El Alba’s Board of Directors is working with key collaborators to repurpose a 2200 square foot building in North Aurora into a commissary kitchen that will be able to host 12-15 caterers. One of the benefits El Alba Cooperative members receive is full access to schedule hours in their own commissary kitchen. This kitchen provides resources including catering and cooking equipment that allows start-up food service businesses to thrive. Non-members can also request to book time as available.
El Alba Cooperative owns and operates a food truck located at 1521 Dayton Street Monday through Sunday and sells authentic Mexican street food. El Alba’s food truck symbolizes the beginning of a new initiative the Cooperative is launching that will bring together food trucks with cuisine from all over the world and host a “food court of food trucks” in its parking lot every three day weekend starting January 2022.
El Alba is partnering with community-based organizations and leaders to develop a comprehensive map of North Aurora that reveals property inventory, property owners, low use areas and vacant land. This map will be used to organize one voice for the North Aurora community that advocates for local growth of small businesses, home ownership, and neighborhood development. An additional goal of this project is to create economic incentives for third parties to financially invest in North Aurora.
El Alba Cooperative is made up of several immigrant and refugee catering service providers that provide a diverse set of cuisine options for any small or large gatherings of friends, family, business, or work events.
Over the past several years, North Aurora has seen rapid growth and changes leading to an increase in demand for catering and food services. In 2017, El Alba Cooperative grew out of conversations between community members and leaders with the goal of ensuring that Aurora residents, especially immigrants and refugees, are able to benefit from this growth. In 2018, El Alba began to coordinate trainings for small business owners who face cultural and linguistic barriers to entrepreneurship. Since then, El Alba has continued to support local entrepreneurs by providing tools and resources that allow food service businesses to prosper.
El Alba represents a powerful alternative to current norms of economic development and combats harmful gentrification of North Aurora. Worker-owned cooperative businesses are widely recognized as a powerful model that supports community wealth building and economic stability. By combating gentrification and creating economic opportunities for current residents, El Alba is preserving the rich diversity of Aurora and building wealth in immigrant and refugee communities. If you are interested in partnering with El Alba in this work or would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to reach out via the “Contact Us” page.