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Lawrence gives entrepreneurs a hand in the kitchen

By Julia Preszler, Boston Globe

About five years ago, Ray Gonzalez wanted to open a lounge with his mother in Lawrence. He envisioned a place where people could hang out while grabbing a bite to eat.


When zoning laws got in his way, Gonzalez in 2012 converted an old FedEx truck into a mobile restaurant called CocoRay’s: A mashup of his name and his mother Coco’s childhood nickname in Puerto Rico.


But his dream of having a brick-and-mortar location never died. Luckily for him, the Lawrence Partnership, a private-public collaboration working on economic development, had started a project called the Revolving Test Kitchen in 2016 to incubate new restaurants.


The kitchen allows entrepreneurs to use the space rent-free for up to a year to jump-start their businesses. Mentoring in business skills such as marketing, bookkeeping, and payroll also is offered. The goal is to eventually establish a permanent location in Lawrence.


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