November marked the end of an era here at Crop to Cup – the end of our run slingin’ drinks and beans at the beloved Brooklyn Flea.
The Flea has been a part of Crop to Cup since the beginning. We were a two person company with no office in 2008, when we heard about some new flea market starting up in Brooklyn in just a few days. I emailed Eric and somehow he fit us in the very first day the Flea opened. Save for a few rainy or holiday weekends, we’ve been there every weekend since, watching the Flea grow to become one of the most respected flea markets in America. It has been a hell of ride; the transport, equipment, setup, take-down, electricity, ice, sunburns and broken tent legs are a lot to manage weekend-in and weekend-out, plus all the weekdays of prep in between.
We were a near nothing that first day. Barely a client to our name. A few lbs here, a few lbs there, delivered with a Metrocard and backpack. We now import hundreds of tons of coffee a year and we’re growing quickly.
But that’s not why every windswept day or ice shortage was worth it. More than anything the Flea built us a family – our booth staff, the Flea’s staff, every other vendor. The number of vendors who started out as simple tables and now have their own storefronts and wholesale ops throughout NYC and beyond is a testament to not only the strength of the Flea and its managers, but also the power of a hard working family – the hundreds of vendors and the collaborative network that they build. Coffee importers, chocolate makers, graphic designers, pastry chefs, t-shirt printers, hot dog experts, potters and taco masters – we share strategies and services but also buy, sell and promote each other’s products. All of these people – the Flea, our staff, neighbor vendors – have helped us grow our business to where it is today.
But 5 years is a long time outdoors and we’ve made the difficult decision to refocus our efforts on importing, wholesale, and our small coffee bar in Gowanus. It will be nice to have our weekends back, but we’ll surely miss the Flea.
Thank you to our fabulous booth staff (over 20 of you!) the Brooklyn Flea (Eric, Rob, Kyle and your team), all of our vendor colleagues and the countless customers who visited us every weekend. Don’t be strangers – come visit us in Gowanus!