Speaker Quinn, NYCEDC Announce New Kitchen Incubator at La Marquetta in East Harlem
Speaker Quinn, NYCEDC Announce New Kitchen Incubator at La Marqueta in East Harlem
Shared Commercial Kitchen Will Support New Entrepreneurs
City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President Seth W. Pinsky and Amy Scherber of Amy's Bread today announced a groundbreaking initiative to help entrepreneurs in the ever growing food manufacturing industry get a jump start on expanding their craft.
The City will be investing in an approximately 4,000 square foot commercial kitchen, to be located at La Marqueta in East Harlem, which will provide shared workspace for start-up and expanding food businesses. In addition to the location, Speaker Quinn announced that the City has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit companies that could manage the operation of the shared kitchen space.
"There are countless people in neighborhoods around the city that have the talent to make it big in the food industry," said Speaker Quinn. "But many of these folks simply don't have access to the space and equipment they need to grow. This partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and La Marqueta will help us create jobs while making dreams come true for new entrepreneurs. We just might be helping a New Yorker who's going to start the next Amy's Bread."
The goal of the RFP for the shared kitchen is to obtain financially sustainable, innovative proposals from potential operators that will lease and manage the space. The kitchen will be fully equipped and available on a full-time or part-time basis. The program for the kitchen should:
- Provide well-managed, fully equipped and clean space to be sublet on a flexible full-time or part-time basis;
- Create new, self-sustaining and profitable food or food-related businesses;
- Enhance revenue and profitability of existing businesses;
- Generate demand for local food products and services;
- Offer below-market rate prices to food businesses.
The Kitchen Incubator is the first phase in the City's plan to revitalize historic La Marqueta. Proposals are due to NYCEDC by September 2, 2009.
"This is an innovative business initiative that will help so many in taking their talent in creating amazing and tasty dishes to the next level," said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. "Sometimes what's stopping someone from making it big in the food industry is kitchen space to meet demands. I can't think of a better place than La Marqueta right in my district to help those dreams come to fruition."
"Thanks to New York City's culinary diversity - fine dining, ethnic cuisines, educational facilities, food manufacturers and distributors, and an array of greenmarkets - the food industry in the five boroughs presents excellent opportunities for growth," said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. "The Kitchen Incubator will help people with small, artisanal and ethnic food businesses to make the transition from working in their home kitchens to using fully-equipped, professionally-managed and licensed facilities. It will also help these budding entrepreneurs prepare for the next step: running and growing a full-time business of their own. I am pleased that NYCEDC is partnering with Speaker Quinn on this important endeavor."
"It's so exciting that small, upstart food producers and bakers will have a kitchen to use to launch their businesses," said Amy Scherber, Owner of Amy's Bread. "It's harder and harder for these small companies to afford to start up in today's market. Without small food businesses, New York City will lose it's very special and unique flavor, and businesses like my bakery, Amy's Bread, will not be in your local neighborhood."
Earlier this year, Speaker Quinn proposed that the City invest in emerging food manufacturing firms by outfitting a commercial kitchen that could provide shared space to entrepreneurs. Food manufacturing is a $5 billion industry in New York City, hiring over 19,000 people and supporting over 30,000 jobs. It's also an industry that has indicated potential for continued job growth, even in the midst of the current recession.
The Council reached out to commercial kitchens across the United States to understand how these kitchens operate and function. There are two kitchen models currently available for rental. The first kind of kitchen is one where for-profit groups rent space to small businesses that already are up and running, while the other model is run by a non-profit organization that rents out to individuals who are looking to start up their business with the goal of having them expand to their own space and become a viable new business. The latter model offers business services and advice to clients as part of the program.
About Amy Scherber
Sixteen years ago Amy Scherber launched Amy's Bread which began in a small storefront on Ninth Avenue in Hell's Kitchen, New York City. At first there were 5 employees, a few wholesale customers, and a small retail store. Now the bakery has over 100 employees, over 200 wholesale deliveries daily, and three retail stores including their location in the vibrant Chelsea Market, where people can watch workers through the glass storefront as they mix, shape and bake the bread. In February 2005, Amy opened her newest store in Greenwich Village.
About La Marqueta
La Marqueta is a City owned retail market property located underneath the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Metro North rail line on Park Ave from East 111th Street to East 119th Streets in East Harlem. The approximately 80,000 square foot site is made up of six parcels divided by intersecting streets and includes vacant land, a market building, a warehouse building and an open plaza. The Kitchen will be one of several uses within the market building.