A long, long time ago(February), I ventured to a land far, far away(Northern Boulevard, close to Steinway St.) to visit the Entrepreneur Space of Queens. Technically still in Long Island City, the E-Space might as well be in a different galaxy from the big-box residential neighborhoods of Hunters Point and Court Square. Yet what goes on here, is really a microcosm of the new LIC business landscape. The E-space is an incubator for start-up food businesses, and thus offers large industrial kitchen and oven space on a per-shift basis. At the introductory tour I attended, potential clients came from all walks of life, whether they be a Jamaican grandmother looking to start her own creole catering biz, a Jackson Heights hipster couple creating specialty rum cakes, or a pastry chef in Manhattan launching a new line of hand-dipped chocolates. By my back of the envelope calculation, I’d guess about half of the foods currently being made at the E-Space would be classified as “artisanal” by their creators, with the other half lumped in the category of “This tastes really good and I’m gonna sell it and make a fortune.” Before one gets that far, the E-space gives all its attendees a dose of reality, by offering free marketing advice in the form of an excellent hour long tutorial given by Brian Gurski, a Queens Economic Development Council counselor. It details what an entrepreneur needs to do promotionally to stand out in the crowded specialty food arena. In addition to the ability to book per-shift commercial kitchen facilities, each shift comes with an assistant for two hours to either show you the ropes or just cut/chop/clean, and they have a staff that is willing to answer any and all questions you have about the food biz. Plus, they have a PR person for article referrals that come their way = occasional free publicity for clients. The fate of those who attended the introductory session with me is tbd, but many of the Entrepreneur Space’s clients have been big success stories. Whether that be as purveyors to well known restaurants in Manhattan, or selling to national chains such as Whole Foods. All the staff at the facility made it very clear they are there to help you succeed, even if it means eventually growing too big for their space.
Hey, there’s creativity of another kind going on in LIC too, check this out:
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Join us at Jeffrey Leder Gallery on Friday, March 29 from 5-7pm for an Artist Reception: Landscape. This exhibit features the various vistas nature can offer, as depicted by seven diverse and talented artists.
Jeffrey Leder Gallery 2137 45th Rd, Long Island City, NY 11101
Entrepreneur Space Queens Website – yum-yum
NY Travel: LIC Boasts Great Bars, Museums, and Awesome Views – nothing new here for locals, but a pretty good writeup from a Toronto newspaper
Hunters Point CSA Secures a Farm and Distribution Site – get your beets and ramps here
Long Awaited Repairs on Queensbridge Park Seawall to Begin This Spring – Van Bramer allocated $3.4 mil to it
Queens Property Prices Dive in Feb’ 2013 – because there is zero inventory, this study makes no sense