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Home-based food vendors reach more customers, thanks to change in Indiana law

One local entrepreneur said the new rules have impacted her business.

INDIANAPOLIS — Food vendors who work from home are now reaching more customers.

It's thanks to the cottage food law that took effect in July, allowing most items to be sold online.

One local entrepreneur said the new rules have impacted her business.

Damaris Contreras loves to bake.

"It's touchstones to memories with my mom," said Contreras. "It's made many memories with my children."

As owner of 4 C's Delicious Yummies, Contreras' home kitchen is her office. And before July 1, she and other food producers were legally prohibited from selling their products online. Aspiring food business owners could only legally sell their products at farmers markets or on the side of the road.

"I don't have the ability to commit to working at every farmers market every Saturday," said Contreras.

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The changes allow home-based vendors to enjoy being part of the e-commerce community. Contreras started selling her goods on the site Market Wagon after the law passed.

Credit: WTHR

She said she's already seen a large increase in sales.

"Economically, this is helping and will continue to help a great deal," said Contreras. "It means my son can get a new bowling ball. My daughter is in the choir and it's the uniform rentals."

The new law has some restrictions. Eggs, poultry and rabbit must still must be sold at public forums.

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"When we set a barrier to starting a business at many hundreds of thousands of dollars for a commercial kitchen, very few people will be able to take that idea, or spark of an idea, and give it legs," said Market Wagon CEO Nick Carter, who worked with lawmakers to pass the bill.

Carter said the pandemic was a huge driving force in finding creative ways to diversify income.

Contreras said she's excited to see where these new opportunities take her.

"There's just no limit to where I can sell," said Contreras.

Part of the bill requires vendors to go through food handling safety training.

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