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Brooklyn Paper: Grand Opening of Second Brooklyn Made Storefront at City Point Celebrates Borough’s Diverse Entrepreneurship

In the News

Gabriele Holtermann

Public safety is connecting people to the economic mobility that’s happening in Brooklyn, that’s happening in New York City. Dr. Jocelynne Rainey, Brooklyn Org's CEO
Published in: Brooklyn Paper

Officials celebrated the grand opening of Brooklyn Made’s second storefront at City Point with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting on Friday, June 7.

Like its original store in Industry City, which opened in May 2023, the Downtown Brooklyn location features products from Brooklyn makers and entrepreneurs celebrating the borough’s rich diversity.

Brooklyn Made was spearheaded by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to promote and support local small minority-owned and/or women-owned businesses across Kings County.

Randy Peers, president and CEO of the Chamber, explained that the stores are about Brooklyn’s independent makers and designers, and are focused on exposing them to audiences they might not normally interact with.

“We did a lot of work in the field in communities, in neighborhoods, literally knocking on doors and meeting with small business owners, meeting makers and designers and just the sheer number of creative people that were producing things in some cases at their kitchen tables,” Peers told Brooklyn Paper.

Because of the success of the first store in Industry City, the business-boosting group jumped at opening a second location in City Point.

Besides products by Brooklyn-based makers, the City Point locale also features merchandise from makers in El Salvador, Singapore, Pakistan and Turkey, in a section dubbed, “Brooklyn Goes Global.”

“If you look at El Salvador, for example, these bags are made by single moms in El Salvador out of recycled plastic,” Peers said. “We’re really proud of this new element. We’re really excited to be able to showcase some of our international partners. Brooklyn is an international brand, so it makes a lot of sense.”

Krissy Moore, senior vice president of Community Relations for the Northeast region at Wells Fargo, told Brooklyn Paper that the bank was the main philanthropic supporter of the first Brooklyn Made Store in Industry City. Wells Fargo supported the City point location with a $250,000 grant.

“We at Wells Fargo are really committed to advancing small businesses and advancing small business growth,” Moore said. “So when the opportunity came out of the success of the first store [in] Industry City, that they were going to expand the City Point, there was nothing that would have stopped us from supporting this expansion.”

A number of prominent Brooklynites attended the Friday celebration, including Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the City of New York Laurie Cumbo, President and CEO of Brooklyn Org Dr. Jocelynne Rainey and outgoing commissioner of the city’s Department of Small Business Services, Kevin Kim.

Reynoso said that occasions like the grand opening of the second Brooklyn Made store are the moments he “wakes up for.”

“This store really exemplifies what it is to build equity and to speak to Brooklyn greatness,” the BP told the crowd, “because all we’re doing here is we’re not allowing big corporations to dictate the outcomes of what Brooklyn is about.”

Reynoso gave a shoutout to Brooklyn’s greatest cheerleader, former borough president Marty Markowitz, who served from 2002 to 2013.

“Marty Markowitz did an amazing job at building a brand that is Brooklyn. Nowhere else can you snap the name of a borough onto something and up-charge 50 percent,” Reynoso joked.

Kim said the store’s concept was among the most innovative ideas he has seen.

“This idea of bringing a number of entrepreneurs together and allowing them to showcase what their passions are, what they love to do, it’s an incredible model,” Kim said.

Gonzalez pointed out that creating opportunities for young people often equals safety.

“Having this shop here, when people walk by this, they are going to look in here, they’re gonna learn that, ‘Yeah, I have the opportunity to do great things in my life. As DA, I be really clear on this, each and every day, I wake up with a passion to keep our communities safe,” Gonzalez said.

Dr. Rainey echoed Gonzalez in saying that the store helps promote public safety instead of policing.

“Public safety is connecting people to the economic mobility that’s happening in Brooklyn, that’s happening in New York City,”  Dr. Rainey said. “What is going to make people successful is them being able to connect to economic mobility, and [Brooklyn Made Store] is that.”

Cumbo predicted that the store will become a “global phenomenon,” because Brooklyn is the hottest borough on the planet.

“There’s a secret sauce to Brooklyn, New York, that we have, and everybody wants a part of it,” she said. “They want to know what we’re drinking; they want to know what we are eating.”

The products offered at Brooklyn Made range from skincare, apparel, housewares and jewelry to games and toys, and more. One of the 150 makers whose products are featured at Brooklyn Made is Anjali Bhargava. Her brand, Anjali’s Cup, sells turmeric and chai blends for daily wellness rituals.

Bhargava has been selling her products in brick-and-mortar shops for almost a decade. However, she told Brooklyn Paper that it feels “awesome” to sell her products in a store solely dedicated to Brooklyn-based entrepreneurs.

“I feel like I can send people here knowing that they’re gonna be able to find my products but also find products made by many people who are my friends,” Bhargava said. “It feels wonderful because it’s a win for everyone because I think most people who are shopping for small products, small businesses, they might know my line, but they don’t know everybody else’s. So this is a great place to discover all those brands as well.”

Tameika Lewis owns BklynBarSoap, a vegan skincare company. Her journey to entrepreneurship began when she was trying to find a holistic skincare regime to heal her son’s eczema.

“The products that they give us today are not good for us,” Lewis explained. “[Pharmaceutical companies] take a lot of shortcuts, and I just wanted to stop the frustration with my seven-year-old who was struggling.”

All her products are clean, plant-based ingredients with pure essential oils and contain sea moss, charcoal, spirulina, aloe vera, and oatmeal, which are soothing and healing.

“We started with bar soap, and then I moved on to like butter, oils, and face oils and scrubs, all those good things,”  Lewis said. “So once we figured out that that was the key to clear skin, maintaining the eczema, I wanted to share my story with the world, and here we are four years later in Brooklyn Made.”