Start-Up Stories from Some of the Small Biz Owners Obama Mentioned Last Night

A few of the food entrepreneurs already at work in Manhattan.

There was a lot of discussion in last night’s State of the Union address, as well as the two Republican rebuttals, about the can-do abilities of Americans to create opportunities for themselves when need and notion arises, to recreate themselves and their businesses, to continue to innovate, especially in rougher economic times such as these, and to live The American Dream: We’re on the cusp of greatness, President Obama said, thanks in part to “the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise.” (There was also that mention of smoked salmon.) A growth in smaller, local, hands-on DIY food businesses who are turning a good idea into enterprise is of course something already long in the works here in New York City, among other cities, and it’s a phenomenon we chronicled in our last issue. We found that while it’s tasty and emotionally fulfilling, running a small food business and maneuvering the plethora of rules and regulations to do so (that would be that smoked salmon Obama was talking about) is rarely easy or even often economically rewarding, at least at first. But it can and does happen, happily. Read “Craft Goes Capitalist” right here.

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.