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Bronx, NY– One of those businesses that is thriving and contributing to the economic boom in the Hunt’s Point area of the Bronx is doing so after fleeing Manhattan’s skyrocketing rents. Down East Seafood, Inc. has not only created jobs and tax revenues for the Bronx, but it is also helping to spruce up its environs.
Down East’s owner, Edward Taylor, first started out in the seafood business in 1989 selling clams door-to-door to restaurants throughout the New York City. After turning his first profit he established Down East Seafood with company headquarters located in his personal apartment. As his distribution grew so did his number of employees, and in 1996 he moved the business to the Meatpacking District in Manhattan. Once famous for its vacant lots and affordable warehouses, the recent gentrification pushed out Down East along with so many other small businesses.
In 2006, the Business Initiative Corporation of New York provided Down East with a $2.5 million HSBC Bank loan which was guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business
Administration under its 504 Loan Program. The financing enabled the company to relocate to its current 17,000 square- foot facility in the South Bronx, now a major distribution hub for seafood and the home of the relocated Fulton Fish Market.
And the company is growing and prospering just like its new neighborhood. The number of employees has doubled to 47 and revenue increased by roughly 40 percent this year. Revenues are projected to grow to $18 to 20 million from $13 million in 2008. As for the surroundings, there’s newly opened Baretto Point Park and the new Hunts Point Clean Air Transportation Shuttle which provides service to the nearest subway station.
The shuttle has encouraged Down East’s employees to work longer hours and make more money since they now have a way to get to the subway from the southwestern portion of the Hunt’s Point peninsula. Seeing the benefits of the new environmentally beneficial hybrid shuttle service, Down East invested in a similar vehicle– an electric, refrigerated delivery truck which reduces the impact of diesel exhaust.
The success of his business has allowed Taylor to give back to the community. He hopes tying in with the developments of the surrounding neighborhood will help play an important role in balancing the needs of the rising population with environmental preservation efforts.
When it comes to advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Taylor enthusiastically states, “Talk to the SBA, and come to Hunts Point!”
-by DeAnn Misilmeri
Eric Hoover was born and raised in Conneaut Lake, a small town in northwest Pennsylvania. At an early age, Eric was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and although doctors predicted he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, Eric was determined to prove them wrong and fulfill his dream of making a difference in the lives of those in need.
In 1988, after completing a 4 year Journeymen's Apprenticeship in the machining trade, Erie founded Excalibur Machine Company, which he is still the president and CEO of today. The last five years have seen a definite decline for most manufacturing in our area, but it was during this period that Excalibur experienced continual growth. Due to Eric's unique business philosophy and his 11 year experience, Excalibur was able to see sales growth of more than 350%. As well as, move from an individual facility of 6,000 square feet to three facilities with over 67,000 square feet. Eric has also founded a sale organization called Camelot Consolidated; a trucking firm, Blade Transport and a construction company by the name of Lancelot Construction.
Eric's growing businesses have let him devote more time to his real passion - trying to make a difference, starting with his local community. Eric, along with his family work with two area churches, Fallowfield United Methodist and Our Lady Queen of America's Catholic Church on various mission and charitable projects. He is the chairman of the Sadsbury Planning Commission and the Joint Planning Commission joining four municipalities. He belongs to the Masonic Lodge and Shrine and supports the local Shrine Hospital. He has aided local businesses by working with them at no cost, to help them turn their businesses around.
Eric has been working with the local school district to form a unique Job Shadowing Program, that will take students and place them in a working envionment, so that they will be better equipped to decide on their future plans.
Eric's most rewarding experience outside of his family, came about in 2005 with the establishment of Excalibur Charities. Although it will not be a legal entity until 2006, he felt that due to recent events that Excalibur Charities should do something to aid the Red Cross in it's efforts. Instead of just making a monetary donation, Eric planned and underwrote an event to bring the community together to raise much needed funds. Each year there will be a special event to raise money for local charities.
To be able to achieve the kind of support Eric wants to give the community, his businesses must continue to grow. In 2006 Excalibur will add another 30 to 40 employees to the existing 80. There are plans that should be complete by first quarter to salvage an abandoned building in the community, to be used as a steel warehouse, that will serve businesses throughout the area.
Dawn Peake, Business Editor of the St. Cloud Times, has been named the Minnesota Small Business Journalist of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Small Business Journalist of the Year is selected annually to honor journalists representing television, radio, electronic or print media who show a concerted effort to increase public understanding of the importance of small business contributions to the economy, contribute news and feature stories, editorials, columns and commentary that highlight and analyze small business issues, volunteer community service aimed at enhancing small business opportunity and growth, and other achievements that exemplify the nominee’s media efforts to improve the understanding of the role of small business in the U.S. economy.
Peake joined the St. Cloud Times in October 2004 as a non-profit and religion reporter before accepting a business reporter position in December and helping launch the company’s quarterly business magazine, ROI Central Minnesota. She became business editor of the St. Cloud Times an ROI in November 2005.
As a business editor at the St. Cloud Times, Dawn Peake guides two reporters and one intern while producing stories herself. The team writes about business and economics for the daily edition of the newspaper and its Business page, for the Times Website (www.StCloudTimes.com) and for ROI Central Minnesota quarterly business magazine.
Peake and her staff track trends and individual business indicators in Central Minnesota and regularly report that information to the community in both publications.
Peake’s articles show the breadth and depth of local small-business operations. She has written about the family-owned trucking businesses, the construction and real estate industries, inventors, retail, manufacturing, banking, business recognition and more. She writes and/or edits a twice-a-week column on new, expanding or moving businesses, most of which are small businesses. She writes regularly about broad economic shifts and their effect on local businesses.
As editor, Peake has focused on not only increasing the newspaper’s coverage of local businesses, but also educating business leaders on the media and articulating their messages through one-on-one and small group meetings as well as large group speaking engagements.