Whole Foods spotlights local New York vendors in-store

10/29/2012

Starting October 22, select vendors from Brooklyn Flea's popular Smorgasburg outdoor foodies markets began setting up shop for month-long pop-ups in Whole Foods' Bowery store.

A company press release said the new space, named Smorgasburg at Whole Foods Market Bowery, will offer one new vendor from the popular outdoor markets each month the opportunity to set up shop in the café seating level of the store located at 95 East Houston Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

“The Flea and Smorgasburg food have established their new businesses at our multiple markets every weekend in Brooklyn, but this partnership with Whole Foods Market gives the cream of our crop a unique chance to deepen both their experience and exposure without the high bar of opening their own restaurant," said Eric Demby, co-founder of Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg. "It really positions our markets and Whole Foods Market as true incubators, creating a pipeline to professionalism that we can usher the finest of our family into."

Brooklyn Flea, a weekly bazaar in Fort Greene and Williamsburg, showcases hundreds of vendors selling everything from home furnishings, clothing, collectibles, crafts, and fresh food. In 2011, the Flea spun off the all-food market Smorgasburg, now open every weekend in Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridge Park in a Brooklyn neighborhood under the Manhattan Bridge overpass.

The unique partnership between Whole Foods Market and the Brooklyn Flea is seen as an investment in encouraging entrepreneurship and shining a spotlight on growing local food businesses.

Vendors are selected to participate in Smorgasburg based on scale, quality and business objectives by both the Brooklyn Flea and Elly Truesdell, Whole Foods Market’s local forager for the Tri-State area.

“We have a specific goal to discover and develop up-and-coming local producers as well as continue to find unique ways to celebrate them with our shoppers.” said Truesdell. “The idea behind Smorgasburg at Whole Foods Market Bowery has long been in the making. We’re so excited to finally be opening this venue and giving these incredibly talented and innovative food purveyors the opportunity to shine in our store.”

The first three vendors to serve food at Smorgasburg at Whole Foods Market Bowery are a representative cross-section of the Brooklyn Flea’s best offerings, with varied handheld cuisine, ready-to-eat foods, and versatile chefs who can setup and cook in almost any space, said the release.

First will be Danny Lyu's Cemitas, serving 10-layer Mexican sandwiches and tacos, followed by Keith Klein's Milk Truck Grilled Cheese and Hugh Mangum's Mighty Quinn's, offering an array of expertly smoked meats.

Whole Foods Market and Brooklyn Flea already have plans to expand their partnership in early 2013, when a Smorgasburg “Snack Bar” will also open at Whole Foods Market’s Bowery location, serving as a specialty shop for goods selected from Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg’s packaged and retail-ready purveyors, as well as vendor partners already selling exclusively to Whole Foods Market.

An article on RetailWire.com said that many vendors will also find a space during colder months to sell their fare.

Whole Foods benefits from attaching its name to a popular foodie event attracting a younger crowd, said the RetailWire report.

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