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New York Daily Photo: Gourmet Garage
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Friday, 25 May 2007

Gourmet Garage

This is Gourmet Garage at 453 Broome Street, certainly no secret with city residents. When they opened in 1992 at 47 Wooster, the concept was quite radical - gourmet foods in a no frills SOHO garage environment. In 1981, Andy Arons and his former college roommate, Walter Martin, started Flying Foods, a specialty-foods importing business. It was sold to Kraft foods in 1987 for $8 million. Arons got back into the business in 1992, starting Gourmet Garage with partners John Gottfried and Edwin Visser. Gottfried owned Metropolitan Agribusiness since 1978, which was a supplier to fine restaurants in the city; Visser had also been in the food business. The concept was to continue the wholesale business to restaurants in the morning and then sell to the general public at the same prices. Goumet Garage positioned themselves perfectly - at a time when SOHO was really starting to get pricey. Gourmet food emporium Dean and DeLucca was well established but felt more like a museum than a real place to food shop. This sentiment was articulated by Gottfried: "The previous approach was to sell this stuff like jewelry. We sell it like produce." And: "The lesson of the 90's is that people don't want to change their life style. They just want to pay less for it." It was exciting when it first opened - getting gourmet goods in a garage setting with wholesale pricing. Today, of course, the place is decidedly less garage-like (with 5 locations including Park Avenue), but still a very enjoyable place to shop with a wonderful down-to-earth atmosphere, great food and good prices ...


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