Hi, everyone! I’m probably overdue for an update, so here it is!
From Saturday, June 30 - Monday, July 2, I attended the Fancy Food Show at the humongous Javits Center in far west Midtown Manhattan. It was an immense show, and I spent a few hours on the first day and 7 hours apiece at the show on the second and third days.
There was huge international representation. For example, in the Italian section, which occupied two rows and then some, Cascina San Cassiano was one of the most outstanding vendors. I must have tried a dozen sauces and jams they make, and none of them was anything short of excellent. I also got to try a unique product, Peschiole al Tartufo Estivo, which are very small young green peaches without pits yet, lightly pickled in black truffle water, made by Savini Tartufi. And these are just two highlights from the Italian section.
Among the interesting American products were habanero pralines, which we may carry, and jams that are only slightly sweet and include tea in them. And then back in the international sections, there was the tomato sauce with mastic oil from Santorini, the fantastic smoked chili powder produced by the Mapuche Indians in Chile, the hot piri-piri sauces from Portugal…
Of course we can’t carry every product. Some companies require a 5-pallet minimum order for wholesale, other companies produce very good products that already have wide distribution, and others charge so much money for wholesale that we’d need to sell very expensive subscriptions to include their products (perhaps an option if there turns out to be a lot of call for that later). But there were quite a few very interesting products that we may be able to carry soon.
I had to leave town the morning after the end of the Fancy Food Show, and I am only now nearly done writing up my notes on vendors and products on spreadsheets and following up with questions about minimum wholesale orders, wholesale prices at different volumes, lead times and sometimes possible smaller sizes of sauces that normally come in large jars.
One thing that’s clear is that we will sooner or later - and probably sooner - be doing a lot of importation. We will almost definitely be importing from Japan, probably from Canada, and quite likely from some countries in Europe and South America. An excellent South African company is also in the mix, and of course we are very interested in leads some folks have given us on good bush tucker in Australia. If any of you have any insight into anything we should consider doing to make the process of importing easier and more effective, please let me know.
Other things we’ve been dealing with are purely related to starting a business: Applying to start an LLC (not too hard to do but requires a $200 payment to the state if you do it in New York, and then comes with an onerous publication requirement, to essentially advertise for 6 straight weeks in a daily and weekly newspaper of the government’s choice in the county where the LLC’s office is, although that can be in not-too-expensive Albany County if you use an agency), getting an Employer Identification Number from the IRS (also a simple process) and filling out more necessary forms. Opening a business bank account is another task that should be performed soon.
There’s more to say, but I have to get some sleep, as my other life as a musician beckons, with a 1.5-hour gig at a nursing home tomorrow (technically, this afternoon), a dress rehearsal on Tuesday and a rock concert on Thursday (if you’re interested in that, click here - I’m a guest artist and play on the title track of the new CD).