NEW YORK (October 9, 2012) – Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) is partnering with Brooklyn Flea to launch an innovative new in-store venue on October 22nd, 2012, at its Bowery location. 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 activate an intimate restaurant in the café seating level of the store located at 95 E. 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 with Jonathan Butler. “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, fresh food and more, and has acted as a launching pad for countless small businesses since its 2008 opening. In May 2011, the Flea spun off the all-food market Smorgasburg, now open every weekend in Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO. 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 Whole Foods Market’s Local Forager for the Tri-State area, Elly Truesdell.
“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. First up will be Danny Lyu's Cemitas, serving 10-layer Mexican sandwiches and tacos (Oct. 22nd-Nov. 20th), followed by Keith Klein's Milk Truck Grilled Cheese (Nov. 26th-Dec. 23rd) and Hugh Mangum's Mighty Quinn's, offering an array of expertly smoked meats (Jan. 2nd-Feb. 2nd).
Whole Foods Market and Brooklyn Flea already have plans to expand their partnership. Slated for early 2013, 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.