Brooklyn Food Makers Young and Sharing Spaces, Survey Shows

By Meredith Hoffman on May 30, 2012 1:35pm 

Brooklyn Brine has shared spaces the first three years of its production of pickles--and just obtained its first own space.
Brooklyn Brine has shared spaces the first three years of its production of pickles--and just obtained its first own space.
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Brooklyn Brine

WILLIAMSBURG — Brooklyn food makers are defying high rents and sharing spaces to start up their businesses, a new study shows.

Most of the borough's 39 manufacturers — mainly based in North Brooklyn — surveyed by Williamsburg Council Member Stephen Levin's office said their ventures were less than 2 years old, and that they used other businesses' spaces to make their products.

Shared spaces included restaurants' kitchens during non-restaurant hours, said Council Member Levin's Communications DIrector Ben Petok.

"Across the board, these businesses feel that being branded as 'Brooklyn based' is good for business and they are all trying to find ways to stay here," said Petok in an email.

The food manufacturers, whose responses were anonymous, also reported modest gross profits of about $25,000 to $50,000 annually, he said, and 40 percent of those surveyed worked in spaces smaller than 1,000 square feet. More than one-third of the businesses reported spending $10 to $20 per square foot for their rental spaces.

The detailed results will be discussed at a forum Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Lutheran Church of the Messiah on 129 Russell St. Representatives from the New York City Economic Development Corporation and from the NYC Small Business Services will discuss ways to help Brooklyn's small food businesses, Petok said.

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