QUEENS — Long Island City's Entrepreneur Space is turning two this month, and its getting adopted...by Martha Stewart.
The Queens Economic Development Corp. opened the 12,500-square-foot food and business incubator two years ago at 36-46 37th St., in an effort to help local start-ups get off the ground by offering discounted work space, including use of a large commercial kitchen.
Now, the E-Space is home to over 165 companies, turning out everything from designer marshmallows to gluten-free gyros, earning it recognition by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which agreed to provide business mentoring services to its entrepreneurs.
"She got word of E-Space, and she digs it," said Rob MacKay, of Queens EDC, who said representatives from Stewart's company will be at E-Space on Wednesday as it celebrates with a second anniversary party.
Like most business incubators, the site is funded in part by the city's Economic Development Corp., set up with the expectation that it will eventually have enough clients to be able to support itself without outside funding. MacKay said the E-Space is on track for that success.
"We're pretty close to breaking even, pretty close to becoming self sufficient," he said, saying the site is about 65 to 70 percent occupied.
The incubator is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and consists of a commercial kitchen, WiFi-equipped offices and conference rooms, which clients can rent out for 8-hours at a time for below market rates.
"It’s a constant sort of flow of people coming in, people coming out," MacKay said.
"It’s a good spot because it's right near two subways, it's not far from expressways, so if you have to get products in or out it's not that much of a problem," he said. "We get people from all over."
Among those cooking up their products at the E-Space are Brooklyn flea market favorite Chickpea and Olive, marmalade-makers Josephine's Feast, and Astoria-based sweets company The Chocolate Swirl. The incubator is also home to non-food related companies, like a travel agency and a tutoring service.
The public is invited to celebrate E-Space's second anniversary this Wednesday, March 6, which will feature samples from many of its clients.