In 2016, Brooklyn FoodWorks, now Pilotworks, was the most eagerly-awaited launch in food-obsessed Brooklyn. Not a new meal delivery app or farm-to-table restaurant. Instead, it was an incubator—10,000 square feet of government-funded, privately-owned space for cooking and co-working.
At 6 pm ET on October 13, 2018, Pilotworks locked their doors, and shared this message on their website:
A "sad outcome" is putting it mildly. This sudden announcement adversely affects all Pilotworks member companies, each of whom relies on the resources and services that they purchase from Pilotworks, and many of whom do not have access to alternate production facilities. It also means the sudden loss of jobs for those who depend on the commercial kitchen space for their livelihoods and business operations, not to mention the retailers and distributors who rely on these businesses to stock their shelves.
As soon as the news broke of Pilotworks’ demise, Mike Winik, the co-founder of OurHarvest, reached out to Cheryl Clements, the founder of PieShell. Together, the two have formed an exploratory group of like-minded individuals with two principal goals:
1) Provide short-term emergency funding to the approximately 175 companies that were Pilotworks members to keep them in business
2) Secure long-term funding to get the Pilotworks location in Brooklyn opened back up and running.
In response to the first goal, PieShell and OurHarvest are launching this crowdfunding project. Each of the Pilotworks member companies have not only lost rent money and inventory, but they’re now being forced to pay for emergency production facilities, refrigeration, and distribution just to try and stay in business. They need your help!
"I am 8 weeks away from giving birth, and I had everything planned out for the help I needed to get this running on its own for a while. I feel desperate because I know I can’t work for a while, and for every week that passes, I will lose the crew that can run this show on its own." - Tina Diep, Hungry Bird Eats
The food and beverage community is a family in every sense of the word: Slack channels for communication were created in minutes, Hot Bread Kitchen set up an emergency phone line and shared it with their community, resources and friends are offering trucks, fridges, freezers, etc. to try and help the entrepreneurs through this difficult times.
Where Will These Funds Go?
The funds raised by this project will go directly to, and be divided among, all the Pilotworks member companies impacted by this closure. Rest assured that NONE of the funds raised by this project will be going to Pilotworks, and/or anyone employed by Pilotworks the company.
How YOU Can Help
ANYTHING you can contribute will help us to help them. If you can't help financially, please share this through social, email, etc. You sharing this project with your crowd will show the love and support to people in our food and beverage community that desperately need it.
Thank you so incredibly much for joining us to help these amazing entrepreneurs get back on their feet!
Special thanks to Michael Berkman of Berkman & Associates for the amazing project video!