Earlier this week, NY City announced 22 new initiatives to help small industrial businesses stay and grow in New York. As reported by the NY Times, overall employment by manufacturers in NY City has declined by almost two-thirds since 1990, but the number of jobs in food-making increased by about 6 percent last year, running counter to that trend.
With that in mind, the city has contributed $1 million to a $10 million small business loan pool, intended to help finance the growth of some promising NY City food makers. Goldman Sachs will contribute the balance of the $10 million, which will be managed by a small business lender to be chosen.
Recognizing that lack of affordable manufacturing space is also an acute problem for growing food makers based in NY City, the Economic Development Corporation is “revamping several spaces, including the former Federal Building in Sunset Park,” the NY Times reported.
Adam Friedman, the director of the Pratt Center for Community Development told the NY Times that businesses typically reach a tipping point when they need more than 30,000 square feet, and that is when they first start to think about leaving the city. (As an aside, I do consulting work through the Industrial & Technology Assistance Corporation (ITAC) which among its many services, helps NY City-based manufacturers implement Lean manufacturing techniques, reducing cost, inventory investment, and space requirements)
It’s great that NY City is taking this step to help support manufacturers, including food makers, which often have a difficult time competing for equity investment with companies in faster growing industries. $10 million is small compared to the need, but it may be a big help to a couple of small, promising companies.
Haagen-D’Azs was launched by Reuben and Rose Mattus in the Bronx in 1961, acquired by Pillsbury in 1983, and is no longer made in NY City. I’m going to be attending the Fancy Food Show next month where I hope to visit the booths of NY City based businesses such as Wine Cellar Sorbets and Chozen all natural ice cream. If either of these brands becomes a huge success, it would be nice to think they could continue to be economically manufactured in NY City.