Brooklyn Made, the borough’s first merchandise shop exclusively selling Kings County-produced goods, held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the storefront in Industry City on May 18, one day before the much-anticipated retail hub opens to the public on Friday.
Randy Peers, the CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, which was the driving force behind the new outpost, attended the celebration inside the store in the Sunset Park industrial complex along with several other prominent Brooklynites — like Borough President Antonio Reynoso, New York’s Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin D. Kim, Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo.
According to Peers, the storefront is a part of their “social mission” to expand the economic footprint of local creators, and bring the goods and services they offer to a broader range of customers.
“Our job, our role as the chamber, and as the Brooklyn Made store, is to get them that wide audience that they need to take off and fly. That’s what it’s about,” Peers told Brooklyn Paper.
The Wells Fargo Foundation helped fund the store, investing over $200,000 as a part of their efforts to financially support formerly disadvantaged communities.
“It was just an exciting opportunity to participate in supporting entrepreneurs, specifically entrepreneurs of color and makers who are here. It is a local brand but it has national providence,” said Otis Rolley, the president of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “At the end of the day we are trying to really prioritize small businesses.”
With 55 vendors, 90% of which are BIPOC creators, the launch of Brooklyn Made, celebrates the creative minds of the borough and the diverse cultures held here.
“It’s about the makers, it’s about the designers, it’s about the small businesses but it’s [also] about this place that we call home. That for 300 years has embraced a measure of diversity, not seen anywhere else in the world and somehow in these 72 square miles we have made it work,” Peer’s said. “ We have made it work in a glorious way where we could all come together and we can celebrate one another and we can celebrate those people who make our small businesses special in every neighborhood.”
Wilbur Pack Jr., owner of Be Brave, and Brooklyn Made’s first maker of the month, says he’s proud to be a part of the shop — saying he’s excited to see how the partnership will continue his efforts of empowering young minds with his comic inspired backpacks that tell the stories of social justice heroes.
Kim, who was appointed by Eric Adams to lead the Small Business Services department, welcomed the new makers to the debut shop, and assured them that the opening is only the beginning for expanding the Brooklyn brand.
“I know that just because we have Brooklyn Made sold in Brooklyn today, it’s not going to end here. We’re going to have Brooklyn Made stores throughout the city, throughout the state and throughout the country,” Kim said.
The Chamber will celebrate the launch on May 19 with a party featuring music from DJ Barry Blends. The celebration opens to the public starting at 5 p.m.
Starting Friday, May 19, Brooklyn Made will be open Sundays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m, and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.