Opinions & observations: Brooklyn is where it’s at
A few years ago, our family struggled with one of the most difficult decisions yet to confront us. As the fourth generation operators of Brooklyn-based Acme Smoked Fish, our family-run seafood smokehouse, we were faced with the need to build new, efficient facilities; recruit, train, and manage an expanded workforce; and handle the escalating costs of doing business in Brooklyn. Many neighboring manufacturers in our area had already relocated outside of the city, and our business had also expanded to other markets where costs were lower. The question had to be asked: was this the end of Acme’s time in Brooklyn?
As an essential food production business, we have remained fully operational since March. Now, in a post-pandemic New York City, there remains widespread disruption in almost every facet of city life. Businesses across all sectors must step up to help make their communities whole again.
That is why we are doubling down in Brooklyn and expanding our presence with a new, purpose-built manufacturing headquarters in Greenpoint. Like many other strong examples in the business community, we want to see New York’s recovery and we believe in the spirit of New Yorkers. Our family’s long, interconnected partnership with New York City has given more than could have ever been imagined by our ancestors when they first settled here in 1906, and today we refuse to run away.
We are challenging every other business that owes their success to New York to do the same, for the essence of New York City is alive and well.
Our modern facility will increase our production capabilities and ensure the site remains a home to manufacturing for years to come, an important component for Brooklyn’s long-term economic outlook. We also will have space for local entrepreneurs and small businesses, especially those serving the innovation economy, a crucial sector which has led the borough’s growth over the last decade.
In many ways, our business mirrors what New York City has experienced for over a century. Acme has watched it transform,
struggle, and succeed over that time. We too struggled at times, adapted, and transformed. When the going gets tough, we shoulder on with strength and the Brooklyn spirit. Brooklyn’s people, culture, and its allure as a brand recognized around the world have given us courage to move forward.
Though we are lifelong Mets fans, Derek Jeter articulated the code that makes New York go in his farewell message to the Players Tribune in 2017. “Get up each day, put on your uniform, go to work, do your best, don’t make excuses. That’s all New York ever really asks for.”
And that code – true of our city and our business – has always been one of reinvention and rededication.
The book of New York City has many pages yet to be filled, but its already written chapters are full of great successes like ours. In every one of those instances, New Yorkers turned to each other, caught their collective breath and again began to run the race that is so distinctively life in this great city. We’re returning the promise of New York with a promise of our own: we’ll be here for as long as you’ll have us.
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