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Greenpoint Spice Seller is Expanding in South Bushwick

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Eye On Real Estate

Welcome to the neighborhood. Meaning south Bushwick.

That’s where Greenpoint entrepreneurs Kimmee and Evan Hoffman went to find expansion space for Brooklyn Spice Company.

They signed a 10-year lease for a 5,060-square-foot, single-story building at 294 Cooper St.

“The price is right. The landlord’s wonderful. We love the nearby businesses. And it’s still Brooklyn,” Kimmee Hoffman told Eye on Real Estate in a recent interview.

The asking rent for the Cooper Street warehouse was $17 per square foot, said Jacques Wadler, an associate broker at Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates.

The Hoffmans, who launched their business in 2011, will continue to use their current Greenpoint location, which is a 2,500-square-foot warehouse at 225 Eagle St.

The married couple’s business is a wholesaler of spices, flavors, seasonings and rubs. And under the brand name Greenpoint Trading Company, it sells to consumers online and at stores in New York and several other states.

And it sells its products to subscription-box companies such as Hamptons Lane and the Hatchery, which send packages of artisanal foods and ingredients to customers every month.

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They’ll double their production rate

Brooklyn Spice Company really needed more room.

“We were at a critical point in the spring. It was taking too long to do our custom-blend spices because we only have room for one mixing machine here,” Kimmee Hoffman said at the company’s Greenpoint warehouse, where sacks of spices are stacked nearly to the ceiling.

At the south Bushwick facility, “we can double our production rate and take on more business,” she said.

The newly rented Cooper Street warehouse will be used as a production facility for blending, packing and shipping spices. The wholesale business will be handled there.

Evan Hoffman hopes it will be ready to move into as early as mid-August.

“We’re half-way done with construction,” he said.

The warehouse already had an office and bathrooms, which cuts down on the work that needs to be done.

Two spice-mixing machines will be placed in separate rooms, with one room solely for making products that do not contain the top eight food allergens. A third room will be dedicated to packing.

According to city Finance Department records, 294 Cooper St. belongs to Celtibero LLC, which bought the property for $749,000 in 2008. The LLC’s sole and managing member is Miguel Friere.

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They’ll put a shop in their Greenpoint warehouse

The Hoffmans, who live in Greenpoint, will continue to use their Eagle Street warehouse to fill Greenpoint Trading Company orders.

And next year, they plan to create a shop inside the front end of the warehouse, said Kimmee Hoffman — whose business card refers to her as “Spice Girl.”

They won’t start working on this new endeavor until January because the holidays are a busy time for their business.

Also, they’ll be attending the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January. For the first time, their spices will be displayed in the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s exhibition space at the show.

According to Finance Department records, the longtime owner of the Greenpoint building is 225 Eagle Corp.

The day we visited the Hoffmans in Greenpoint, their warehouse smelled deliciously of Italian sausage seasoning, which has fennel in it. The shelves were stocked with more than 200 different ingredients.

Foodies will appreciate this: Greenpoint Trading Company’s product lineup includes a product called Coffee Rub. It’s made of dark-roast coffee beans that are ground to the Hoffmans’ specifications by Brooklyn coffee roasters plus dark chili powder, paprika and other spices.

Customers use it on a variety of foods, from brisket to baked salmon to avocado toast.

Also, there’s Roasted Garlic Pepper Seasoning — which contains both garlic and garlic extract.

 

Big demand for warehouse space

South Bushwick, where Brooklyn Spice Company’s newly rented warehouse is located, is an intriguing area on the border of Ridgewood, Queens. Warehouses and rowhouses are intermingled on low-rise blocks, which are situated near a pair of cemeteries.

Before signing their south Bushwick lease, the Hoffmans looked in Greenpoint for expansion space. But the rents for warehouses were $25 per square foot.

There was a great warehouse in Maspeth, Queens, just 10 minutes away from their current location. But it was expensive.

The south Bushwick building they rented was on the market for only three weeks, said their real estate broker, Wadler. He and Vincent Lopez, a Kalmon Dolgin licensed salesperson, represented both Brooklyn Spice Company and the landlord in the lease deal.

“Right now, warehouse space is in high demand throughout all of Brooklyn,” Wadler told us.

“We lost a lot of warehouse and manufacturing space in the 2005 rezoning of Greenpoint and Williamsburg.”

 

Supper Magazine Featuring Evan and Kimmee in: A Taste Of Up-And-Coming Brooklyn

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How a couple’s dinner parties turned into a full-time job, from the April Edition of Supper Magazine, by Rob Marcantonio

Tucked away in Greenpoint like a few of our favorite things here at Supper, there’s a warehouse (two warehouses, in fact) owned by an engaged couple. Their names are Evan and Kimmee and they’re the proprietors of Brooklyn Spice Co. and Greenpoint Trading Co.—two companies pumping out tons (literally tons) of high quality spice blends each and every day.

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HOW DID THEY GET HERE

A failed tee-shirt company, a short bout of unemployment, and a love for cooking led these two to start a business together. “Evan was working in spices, and we were running a tee-shirt company at night. That was a total flop. But we knew we wanted to work together, to do something creative as a couple,” Kimmee explained. 

Kimmee had just left her job in production. “We were cooking all the time and constantly having friends over for dinner. We were always using spice blends of other companies but not liking them because they were really high in salt, or they weren’t flavorful enough, or they had too much going on.”

So they started making blends together and giving them to friends. Their frequent dinner parties became their training and grounds and trade routes. This hobby grew and grew until it made sense to make something of it. “Since Evan was already in the spice industry it just made sense that we would start our own business,” Kimmee said. “We started buying bulk spices, we lined them up in our hallway, and we got a food-handlers permit. From there it just sort-of evolved.”

Evan and Kimmee began selling their craft blends as Greenpoint Trading at Smorgasburg and other like-minded flea food markets in Brooklyn. “Those are a great way to meet people and make friends,” Evan said. The recent craft culinary explosion has sparked a vibrant community of DIY food suppliers and mom-and-pop purveyors. For anyone that was making their own pickles, mustards or cured meat, Evan and Kimmee were the neighborhood supplier.

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Their first big seller was turkey brine for Thanksgiving a couple years ago. “Once that sold really well, we said ‘okay, let’s make this permanent,’” Kimmee explained. “We moved into a legitimate space and just started going full force.” They started expanding rapidly and organically with a lot of help from friends.

Evan and Kimmee’s dinner parties were still an integral part of their business. They recruited free focus groups. “Friends would go home and I would just give them a little baggie of seasoning with a number on it. I would say, ‘try this on everything and let me know what you think.’ Then people would report back to me,” Kimmee said. That’s how they expanded their spice line.

Now they sell nearly a dozen different quality blends in addition to supplying wholesale buyers as Brooklyn Spice Company. Brooklyn Spice business has been taking up most of their time, and also led them toward expansion.

They grew out of their original space in just over a year and have recently moved to a warehouse a couple blocks down the street. It’s nearly four times the size. “We needed a warehouse that can do Brooklyn Spice Company and Greenpoint Trading Co,” Evan said. They’re really excited and they’re operating at a pace that is going full steam ahead. “It’s a totally new company. We’re just growing so rapidly,” said Kimmee.

Armed with one forklift and a cargo van, the heroic Evan and Kimmee are doing all of this on their own. They receive all shipments and hand-deliver their outgoing orders. And they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Why work for someone else?” Evan laughed. When he left his old company, people just came with him. “I didn’t have to ask. They just knew that the service and the quality wouldn’t be there without me.” Evan and Kimmee have their hands in every part of their business, which helps them maintain the quality on which the pride themselves.

“Now we have all these friends doing small companies, mostly on the side of their full-time jobs, and we’re their supplier.” Evan explained. “We supply to our friends at Tin Mustard, local picklers and DIYers but we’re also supplying to companies like Bill and Evans and a bunch of meat curing companies.” No matter how large Brooklyn Spice grows, they want to keep whom they sell to always at the mom-and-pop level.

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NOW AND MOVING FORWARD

Greenpoint Trading Co.’s spice blends are currently in a dozen stores in Long Island, about six stores in Brooklyn and two or three stores in Manhattan. You’ll be able to catch them at Brooklyn EATS, Brooklyn’s first fancy food-style trade show June 26th in south Williamsburg. They’ll be selling gift sets and starter kits in addition to their regular assortment.

Order online anytime on their website.

Be on the lookout for an update from Supper about the furniture showroom Evan’s dad will be opening in their old warehouse space!

Brooklyn Eats Feeds the Fever for the Boro’s Best Bites

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Cheesy cornbread, flavored pretzels, beef jerky, Kombucha, and Indian Lassi-style ice-cream were just a few of the selections offered last Friday at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s annual foodie extravaganza, Brooklyn Eats.

A buzz permeated the large Flushing Avenue warehouse space formerly occupied by Pfizer, where more than 100 food and beverage vendors were gathered to offer hungry visitors a sampling of Brooklyn’s best. Dozens of people took turns stopping at the stalls, inquiring inquisitivly about the products, some excitedly trying the foods, others somewhat more hesitantly.

“Brooklyn Eats is the hottest food show in Brooklyn – and it’s where our food and beverage companies make the jump from flea market tables to store shelves,” said Carlo Scissura, the President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “It is the one show that brings makers and buyers together for business while allowing the public experience the foods and beverages that are on the forefront of Brooklyn’s food scene.”

North Brooklyn was well represented at the event. One of them was Kimmee Arndt, who along with her husband Evan Hoffman, started a spice business, Greenpoint Trading Co., about three years ago.

Along with their commercial spice business, the wholesaler Brooklyn Spice Company, Greenpoint Trading Co. focuses on selling a variety of spices, seasonings, and rubs. Currently sold online, Arndt and Hoffman are looking to expand further.

“The best part about what I do is that I get to work with my husband, and we haven’t killed each other so far,” Arndt joked at the festival. “I love the fact that we live and work in Greenpoint. It’s an amazing community to be working in.”

Hoffman and Arndt entry into the spice business was, for all intents and purposes, an accident. Hoffman was renting out a friend’s place adjacent to a spice factory, the latter was in the spice business, and it got Hoffman hooked. Along with Arndt, whom he was dating at the time, they decided to dive into the business headfirst.

That enthusiasm paid off. Their business is thriving, and next month they’re set to launch a Kickstarter to enable them to expand and begin selling in cities like Austin, Portland, and San Francisco, each of which has a growing spice industry.

Other standout vendors at Brooklyn Eats included Brooklyn Delhi, which sells three flavors of “Achaar,” – an Indian-style relish made with locally grown vegetables, fruits, spices, and oil. It’s the creation of Bed-Stuy-based chef, Chitra Agrawal, whose father hails from New Delhi, India, and her mother from the Southern part of the country. Growing up, “Achaar,” and chutneys were a staple at her dining table.

For the past six years, Agrawal has taught cooking classes specializing in Indian vegetarian cooking, eating locally sourced produce, and running a popular food blog, the ABCD’s of cooking. At first, the “Achaar,” was something she only made for her students, but with help from her fiancé, Ben Garthus, a product designer, the duo crafted Brooklyn Delhi last December.

“The response so far has been surprisingly good,” said Agrawal. “I try to make it not as intense as the ones you find in India and I try to use some American influences as well. I want to continue experimenting with more flavors.”

Jumping on the creativity bandwagon was Shahar Shamir, a former dancer who last year created Brooklyn Sesame – a healthy, artisanal Halva spread. Sesame and Honey are the central ingredients in his version of the Middle East confection. He then adds an additional ingredient to create a host of unique flavors, which can be used as a spread on toast, eaten with crackers, or consumed as a healthy alternative to dessert.

“I like authenticity and real flavors,” said Shamir, who started out making the Halva in his apartment before moving to a kitchen incubator soon after launching his product in July 2013. “I was amazed to find so many people in New York who already knew about Halva. I want to be the next Kashi.”

As the day went on, visitors and waistlines swelled at Brooklyn Eats marking a successful event for the Brooklyn Chamber and the emergence of the borough as the food capital of the world.

from Greenpointnews.com, Jul 01, 2014

Words and Image by Tanay Warerkar

BK Styled Spotlight on Greenpoint Trading Co.

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From BK Styled’s July 01, 2013 Post:

I was a picky eater as a young child – ordering all things off of the menu with the word ‘plain’ in front of them. It wasn’t until I got older that I discovered the delectable pleasure in slathering sausages in sauerkraut and mustard, enticing my tongue with the spiciest peppers, and indulging in the most exotic spices and rubs on every cut of meat imaginable. I learned quickly that the world of spice was one that I could lovingly embrace with every morsel. Which leads me to why I am so smitten with Brooklyn’s own Greenpoint Trading Co., a local company offering a wide range of spices and rubs to enliven the taste buds.

Evan & Kimmee are the masterminds behind Greenpoint Trading Co. When I met with them in their brand new space in Greenpoint, I learned a lot about how the company came to be and got a glimpse into the local spice industry. Evan & Kimmee actually work in both the wholesale and consumer markets. Their company Brooklyn Spice Company makes seasonings and blends for wholesale meat and food manufacturers. On the other hand, Greenpoint Trading Company is packaged and marketed straight to the consumer.

 

Kimmee used to work in the photo production industry, a job she found to be a little lackluster. When she lost her job she saw it as a blessing in disguise and used the opportunity to join Evan, who already worked in the spice industry for six years prior, to start their own company. “We literally did it in the hallway of our apartment,” Kimmee recalls, “and got a permit from the city to pack and sell at markets. We had a folding table in our living room and we would invite our friends over and we would give them wine and beer and have packing parties to help package the products before selling at the market.”


Expansion soon followed. Now their new space has a cargo van, a forklift, and machines that grind and mix and are capable of making 25,000 pounds of spice blends at a time. I had a fun time goofing off in their warehouse, effectively coaxing Kimmee to climb atop bags of spices on the forklift and have Evan carry her around. They made for some super fun photos, which show the truly fun and delightful personality behind these two and their products.

The craft paper bags that Greenpoint Trading uses to package and sell their products have become one of the most beloved characteristics, as many clients have noted. Kimmee said that they have just recently started incorporating glass bottles (which are equally as striking) into their merchandise. As for me, I love the names that they have come up with for their blends, some of my favorites being ‘Dracula’s Nightmare,’ a salt-free garlic seasoning, and ‘Mean Gator,’ a Cajun seasoning. Be sure to check them out, as their products are a perfect fit for a summer BBQ. Your mouth will thank you, I promise.

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photography by Jocelyn Baun

Power Couples of Greenpoint

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We could not have been more surprised and elated when we were approached by greenpointers.com to be the subject of their Valentines Day Installment of the Power Couples of Greenpoint! 

Thanks so much to Liz and Greenpointers.com for that wonderful praise and for supporting us, Greenpoint Trading Co, and Greenpoint Brooklyn.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re celebrating the love that wafts through the air in Greenpoint with profiles of some of our favorite entrepreneurial power couples. You might already shop in their stores, eat their food, take their classes, follow them online, or recognize them as fellow regulars at your local haunts, but now it’s getting personal! We asked our power couples to tell us about what they love about living and working in Greenpoint with each other, and the results were very sweet indeed.

Check out the interview here

Food Artisans: Serious Eats Features Kimmee and Evan Hoffman

A while back, Stephanie Klose at Serious Eats posted a great little piece about us. Thank you Stephanie for spreading the love!

Greenpoint Trading Co. got its start when Evan Hoffman got a job cold-calling for a bulk wholesale spice company. Eventually, he transitioned into sales, then started his own wholesale spice company, Brooklyn Spice Co., with Kimmee Arndt. When they decided to break into the retail market with the kinds of spice blends and rubs they were already making for their own use, Arndt says, they got a permit from the city to package in their living room and stored all of the product in their hallway, though they graduated to a warehouse in Greenpoint soon after.

Read her article here: http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/01/food-artisans-greenpoint-trading-co-spices.html

Joint Project with OMR Goods!

Our first collaboration with our dear friends at OMR Goods!  We teamed up with the Grilled Cheesus champs on a custom blend that you can only find at their site: OMRgoods.com – Jesus H. Spice!  For a while we thought that you couldn’t improve upon the perfection that is a grilled cheese sandwich.  But after heaping some Jesus H. Spice on to a grilled cheesus, we knew we’d been wrong.  With our friends Meg Sheehan and Rob Corso, we have created a flavorful combination that will forever make us remember the hundreds of sandwiches we ate growing up with a little less enthusiasm, for we now know what a grilled cheese sandwich can truly be.

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We love working with our friends, and we love to source locally whenever we can.  We hope this collaboration is the start of a lot more of that. Check out more of what OMR Goods has to offer here: omrgoods.com