Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2013

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 129 of 217

"You don't go into this business unless you've got a bit of a risk-taking personality."—Anna Castellani making up the young, hip scene Dumbo is known for—and young families, for which the business offers healthy fare and an emphasis on groceries. Manhattan sees a working-professionals crowd, Castellani says, with a common theme: "Nobody cooks," she asserts. This trend puts prepared foods in the spotlight at the Chelsea store, day and night—so much so that the business has plans to expand its prepared-foods counter, which sits at the store's center, offering an array of sandwiches, salads, soup and other ready-to-go goods. "It's a huge part of our business. People actually want more, and they want easier, and they don't want to wait in line at night." Grocery is still substantive at the Chelsea store, with a tidy selection of produce, pasta and grains, breads, dairy, sweets and more. A full-service butcher counter run by Dickson's Farmstand Meats offers cuts of New York State–raised beef, lamb, pork and chicken. The checkout counter near the store's entrance doubles as a coffee bar with a countertop case of house-made baked goods. And while Brooklyn-made products flood the original shop, Castellani is careful not to overwhelm the Chelsea store. "The Manhattan crowd will say, 'Why is there so much Brooklyn stuff in here?' Like they're kind of irritated by it." Summer Fancy Food Show Booth 3338 Challenges… Seven years of experience manning the Brooklyn store has made the new location's first-year run a success. But plenty of challenges came with the transition, from the sheer disparity in costs, to a natural disaster that resulted in huge expenses. The plainest difference between the two boroughs: price. "Manhattan—the stakes are higher," Castellani says. In Brooklyn, she explains, a bad month here and there is manageable. In Manhattan, "You can't play around." Even with all the preparation and cash flow that gave the business the boost needed to expand, the surprise impact of Hurricane Sandy last fall hit Foragers twofold, resulting in week-long closures of both stores. For a business founded on fresh products, the market lost nearly all its inventory, Castellani says. "We've just been very lucky that we had vendors who have been patient with us," she notes. In the end, she sees even unlikely natural disasters as part of the territory. "You don't go into this business unless you've got a bit of a risk-taking personality." Future Plans… Despite the hardships, the Foragers team isn't slowing down. They're already scouting for the next location. "We love running the markets," Castellani says. "They're satisfying in a Summer Fancy Food Show Booth 4505 JULY/AUGUST 2013 113

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