New York - City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President Seth W. Pinsky have opened the City’s new kitchen incubator at La Marqueta in East Harlem. The incubator is a groundbreaking initiative to help culinary entrepreneurs get a jump-start on expanding their businesses in the important food manufacturing industry. The newly renovated 3,000 square-foot incubator, built in a formerly underutilized market space under the Metro North tracks in East Harlem, provides shared workspace and technical assistance for small, artisanal and ethnic food businesses making the transition from working in home kitchens to using fully-equipped, professional facilities. The incubator program, HBK Incubates, will be operated by anchor tenant Hot Bread Kitchen, who will also run their social purpose business from the 1,600 square feet of state-of the-art bakery space. Hot Bread Kitchen CEO Jessamyn Waldman and a new incubator client also joined the announcement.
”New York City boasts a solid food manufacturing industry making products from cuisines all around the world,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “This kitchen incubator will provide the ingredients to help our local food entrepreneurs turn their passion for cooking into thriving businesses. Through our investment and working in partnership with NYC EDC, we have turned a once-underutilized market space into a state-of-the art facility to feed our food industry.”
“With today’s grand opening, we begin the long-awaited revitalization of La Marqueta, a historical and cultural landmark for the El Barrio/East Harlem community,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The newly built commercial kitchen incubator will make affordable workspace available to culinary entrepreneurs, as immigrant women receive training and workforce development from Hot Bread Kitchen. I strongly encourage my constituents to take advantage of these incredible resources. This innovative incubator space, along with the brand new retailers that have moved in, will help La Marqueta to once again become an engine for economic activity in El Barrio/East Harlem. I thank Speaker Christine Quinn for her leadership on this project, as well as the support of the Economic Development Corporation and all others who helped make this vision come to life.”
“I am thrilled to be opening up the city’s newest incubator here at the historic La Marqueta,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “Small businesses are the backbone of the City’s economy and the Kitchen Incubator will help these budding entrepreneurs prepare for the next steps in growing and expanding their businesses in the food manufacturing industry. Along with the new tenants that have opened in the front of the market, La Marqueta is once again becoming a hub of activity in East Harlem. Thank you to Speaker Quinn and Councilmember Mark-Viverito who have prioritized and supported this project.”
“The kitchen incubator at La Marqueta exemplifies the great economic development work that can be done when small business and the city come together,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz, Chair of the Economic Development Committee. “This project will proudly serve everyone from small entrepreneurs to city government to immigrant communities and underserved populations. As the chair of the Economic Development Committee in the Council, I commend Speaker Quinn, Council Member Mark-Viverito, EDC President Seth Pinsky and Hot Bread Kitchen for their hard work and dedication to this wonderful project.”
“La Marqueta in East Harlem is a cutting edge kitchen incubator,” said Council Member Diana Reyna, Chair of the Small Business Committee. From soup to nuts, the collaboration with NYCEDC, will help the inventor, innovator, or entrepreneur by providing assistance with writing a business plan, marketing, label design, and food manufacturing. La Marqueta is an essential project that will get people working, keep communities growing and our neighborhoods healthy.”
“I am very pleased to offer my support for this program, which will provide low-income women with an opportunity to develop their culinary and business skills,” said Council Member Julissa Ferraras, Chair of the Women’s Committee.
“I am truly delighted with the addition of the City’s newest kitchen incubator to such an important social and economic venue like La Marqueta,” said New York City Council Member and Chair of the Immigration Committee, Daniel Dromm (D-Queens). “This is an initiative that will not only revitalize the East Harlem community but will help existing small businesses and emerging entrepreneurs flourish while continuing to make New York City one of the culinary capitals of the world. I am also pleased to see non-profit groups like Hot Bread Kitchen, which have such positive impact in our immigrant communities, at the helm of this project.”
“This Kitchen Incubator is an incredible opportunity to encourage entrepreneurship, develop small businesses and promote job growth,” said Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., Chairman of the Finance Committee. “More importantly, it’s another example of the innovation that makes New York City the culinary capital of the world. Our food industry is an economic engine both for East Harlem and for all of New York City.”
Hot Bread Kitchen is a non-profit social enterprise that trains immigrant women working in the culinary field. At La Marqueta, Hot Bread Kitchen will train low-income, foreign-born women in commercial and artisanal baking, providing kitchen training, English-language classes and job placement assistance. In addition, Hot Bread Kitchen will manage the incubator space, which provides licensed kitchen equipment and business assistance to help launch a variety of food enterprises. Subsidized rates are available for low-income food entrepreneurs.
The incubator space includes two production kitchens, two prep kitchens, a chocolate kitchen, a specialty production space, and dough room, as well as dry and cold storage facilities. A demonstration kitchen for classes and other events is also available. The kitchens will be fully equipped and available on a part-time or full-time basis. Already, Hot Bread Kitchen has agreed to incubate six small businesses, with a second round of applications currently being accepted.
Additionally, staff at the kitchen will help entrepreneurs with:
“Since launch, Hot Bread Kitchen has provided job training to foreign born women. We are excited to embark in the next step of our organization’s growth in partnership with the City Council and the Economic Development Corporation to help promising food businesses thrive and grow,” said Jessamyn Waldman, CEO of Hot Bread Kitchen. “We are grateful for the vision of the Speaker Quinn, City Council and NYCEDC in making this project a reality.”
Clients for the incubator will be recruited from the Hot Bread Kitchen workforce training program, East Harlem community groups, and other non-profits. However, all who are interested are encouraged to inquire about the space. Hot Bread Kitchen will be capable of incubating up to 40 businesses at a time.
“We are grateful to the city for taking the initiative to help small business owners grow at the incubator here at La Marqueta,” said Vice-President of Daisita Bakery Elvis Hernandez. “At the incubator, we will be able to mass produce our cakes and distribute them to a large number of supermarkets. La Marqueta is the perfect place for us to learn how to make cakes on a large scale, and be ready to one day move to our own commercial space with all the necessary knowledge to have a successful business here in Harlem.”
Food processing in New York City represents a $5 billion industry that adds approximately $1.3 billion to the Gross City Product. Since 2004 the number of workers employed in the food manufacturing industry has increased and there are now approximately 1,000 food processing and manufacturing establishments employing over 14,000 workers in New York City. The average wage for people employed in food manufacturing in New York City is $34,100.
The construction of the incubator is part of a larger plan to reactivate the historic La Marqueta. Complimenting the addition of the kitchen incubator is the ongoing work to tenant the front half of the market building. Several new tenants have recently taken space in the market, including Breezy Hill Orchards, Viva Fruits and Vegetables, Urban Garden Center, Berried Treasures, and SpaHa Café. Along with existing tenants, Jose Meat Market, Maria’s Candies and Notions, Maria’s Jewelry Shop, Velez Groceries, and Square International Foods, these stores are helping reconnect the community to the market, provide access to healthy food, support small businesses, generate local economic development and celebrate local culture.
About La Marqueta
La Marqueta is a historic community marketplace in East Harlem owned by the city. The property is located underneath the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Metro North rail line on Park Avenue from East 111th Street to East 119th Street. 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.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities.