From Clean Room to Food Hub
White-coated technicians used to produce computer chips at the sprawling, scrupulously clean facility operated by IBM in East Fishkill. Now, a new generation of workers is gearing up to produce a different kind of product in the Hudson Valley: an American crepe.
Crepini, which started out manufacturing a trademarked crepe that is a fusion of French crepe and Russian blini, is leaving the 10,000-square-foot factory it has occupied in Brooklyn since 2010 because there is no room for expansion. By late this summer, the company expects to be up and running in new, 33,000-square-foot quarters with excellent highway connections to nearby Interstate 84.
Crepini also has been helped by the site’s legacy.
“The majority of the building we are moving into is ‘clean,’” says Lisa Peitzer, Chief Marketing Officer for Crepini. “The space we are moving into is where IBM would clean their chips. This saves us both time and money because the floors, walls and set-up are ready for food production.”
Crepini now employs about 30 people, but expects to hire at least 100 more when it expands in East Fishkill. Suppliers, including the Newburg Egg Corp. in Sullivan County, will be in reasonable proximity, says Crepini Director of Sales and Marketing Sam Shkolnik, who adds the move “is a dream come true for us.”
Crepini is part of a “food hub” that will include up to a dozen businesses being assembled by National Resources, a real estate development and investment firm that purchased 300 acres of the IBM campus in 2017.
The hub is one component of a $300 million mixed-use “iPark 84,” a planned development that will include manufacturing, retail, residential and recreational components. National Resources has successfully applied the iPark model and transformed similar industrial sites to iParks in Lake Success, NY, and Norwalk, CT.
The food hub will further cement the region’s status as a food destination, claims Sarah Lee, CE0 of the Think Dutchess Business Alliance. Food is “one of the top reasons people come here,” she notes.
Several businesses already have located in the food hub. Jason Schuler, who grew up near the IBM campus, rented 10,000 square feet for his Drink More Good beverage factory and has plans for major expansion. Sloop Brewery has moved its production from Elizaville to what it calls “The Factory” in East Fishkill, thereby increasing capacity from 4,000 to 28,000 barrels a year. Other businesses on the roster include Cozzini Brothers, which offers knife sharpening services to area restaurants, and a Brooklyn-based private label smoked fish purveyor, which has leased 10,000 square feet, with an option on an additional 16,000 square feet.
Meanwhile, National Resources is negotiating with an Israeli company that would produce malabi (milk pudding) on the site. The milk would come from local dairy farms.