Fresh Fanatic - Brooklyn, NY
Brothers Andrew Goldin and David Goldin saw the opportunity in their Brooklyn neighborhood for a specialty market — one that focuses on local, fresh produce and other grocery items, and also offers in-house baked goods, quality deli products and scratch-prepared meals.
Their strengths were compatible: David, the older of the two, had gained experience in local property development. He recognized Brooklyn's Clinton Hill neighborhood, one block south of the bustling Brooklyn Navy Yard, as an up-and-coming community for young professionals. Andrew, a strong proponent of the local food movement with a background in retail sales, possessed strong purchasing and management skills.
Since the brothers opened their Fresh Fanatic Inc. organic supermarket and cafe in 2009, business has tripled. Their first full year in operation generated $1.2 million in revenue. This year, the store should close with $3.6 million in revenue.
That swift growth, coupled with a solid business plan, helped the Goldins access a $568,700 loan through the Brooklyn Fund. The Brooklyn Fund provides Brooklyn-based, small business owners with government-backed loans up to $350,000 through the U.S. Small Business Administration's Community Advantage and Small Loan Advantage programs.
Yurinha Schmidt, New York Business Development Corporation vice president, said the loan helps create jobs and supports two entrepreneurs who are determined to succeed.
The $10 million Brooklyn Fund was launched by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in May 2013, in partnership with The 504 Company's affiliate NYBDC and New York City's Business Solutions Center. In addition to having access to loans ranging from six percent to eight percent, potential borrowers get help with their business plans and budgets and other technical assistance.
"Fresh Fanatic is part of the rapid change in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and its adjacent neighborhoods. Although the company had been successful at running a lean operation, management was risking not being able to leverage on its growth potential due to the lack of working capital," Schmidt said.
The remainder of the loan, which closed in October, will help the owners renovate and expand within their 5,000-square-foot grocery store, buy machinery and equipment, and increase inventory. One of the two rooms that had housed the store's air conditioners is being freed up to enlarge the produce and prepared-food sections and the kitchen.
"Demand was there for us to expand within the space. We wanted to use the full 5,000 square feet. Once we finish construction, we will boost up the number of staff, and give the ones we have more hours," said Andrew, general manager in charge of human resources, purchasing and marketing. David handles the store's accounting and merchandising. Fresh Fanatic currently employs 20 people.
The Goldins see even greater potential in the Clinton Hill neighborhood. A new film school is scheduled to open there soon, and the population of young urban professionals is expected to double in the next two years, fueling a surge in residential growth.