At least, this is true in the universe of small food companies.
For most small businesses, growth means figuring out how to expand production while simultaneously adding new customers and holding down costs. Sometimes it involves taking a heroic leap forward: borrowing money or raising investment capital to build new facilities or open a storefront.
I’m emphasizing how hard it is because every CFO on Speed Dial client, in fact, every business owner I know struggles with growth. There’s a constant refrain: how big, how fast, how far, how soon. It’s tiresome!
Luckily we also have heroines who light the path forward -- so today I’m writing about one of those companies, one of those heroines who I am proud to work with.
Fany Gerson is a chef, entrepreneur and, according to my son, a culinary genius. She is completely passionate about Mexican treats. After six years of selling from ice pops from carts in hot places, La Newyorkina has opened a year-round retail store in Manhattan.
La Newyorkina is best known for its frozen treats – its fabulous collections of paletas (popsicles) and chamoyadas (tangy, sweet and spicy fruity ice-sundaes) appearing from the High Line to Far Rockaway and every Smorgasburg in between.
With a retail store Fany and LaNewyorkina are now able to unleash the full range of treats – more ice cream and a huge array of paletas await you. But also a full range of cookies, brownies and hot chocolate. A goody for every season.
I’ll let Grub Street and the New York Times fill you in on the flavors.. or better yet, go try some yourself!
But if you’re looking for La Newyorkina’s recipe for success here are my observations about how Fany and her team got to Opening Day.
- Simple product – La Newyorkina started with paletas: A simple product with crave-worthy flavors in both classic and innovative profiles.
- Lean Start – In the beginning, La Newyorkina produced one product with excellent margins that required very little upfront capital or overhead costs. Compare a freezer cart to virtually any other sales platform (even a food truck costs much more) and you’ll see what I mean.
- Brand and identity built to expand – Paletas were always just a starting point. Fany’s story, passion and plans go far beyond popsicles.
- Manage for profits and reinvest. Avoid borrowing and outside investment. Instead of looking for a big infusion from outside investors or borrowing a large amount at the start, La Newyorkina invested its early profits in building capacity; and then went to family and friends for most of the funds needed to launch the retail store. This is a slower path to growth; but it keeps the risk to the business and the investors as low as possible.
- Expand operations first, then rock on sales. Last January, La Newyorkina made major investments in its Red Hook Brooklyn kitchen so the kitchen would be ready to handle the new demands from the retail store and other expansion plans (yes, there is more to come..)
- Celebrate the wins! Ok, if you’ve met me, you know this is my favorite lesson. When you have a big win make it a big party. La Newyorkina is throwing one on their opening day Friday, October 14th at the new store at 240 Sullivan Street, NY NY. See you there!