Something exciting is happening in the food manufacturing world in San Francisco! Last year, the city government commissioned a study detailing what steps they should take to encourage food and beverage manufacturers to remain in the city. The city decided that the food manufacturers are an important segment of the business landscape in SF and they want to encourage growth. They retained the services of SPUR to conduct the study.
SPUR assembled a great team of people to discuss the challenges that food manufacturers face in SF. I was thrilled to be included among them and as an entrepreneur, I found the whole process fascinating. SPUR gathered all of their questions, held a conference with industry leaders and then turned all of the recommendations into a 75 page document that is then used by the city government as they make laws and policies.
The movers & makers
As a follow-up to the study, we are now in the beginning stages of forming an association of the food manufactures called The Movers & Makers. It is a great group to join as it includes brewers, wine makers, bakers, chocolatiers, wholesale food purveyors among their members. The mission of the group is to keep this important conversation going and try to influence City Hall. I am glad to be part of its inception because I have done this before – I was part of the team that started Women Chefs and Restaurateurs in 1992. My experience will be valuable to this new organization because I know how difficult it is to start a trade association from scratch. I am hoping I can influence them to form as a committee within SF Made or some other arrangement where a whole new business doesn’t need to be formed.
One good result has already come of the study; the City has just issued a permit on the first new industrial working space in SF in years. One of the things that I hear most from my clients who manufacture is that there is nowhere to work! Even if you have the resources to rent a space, there is no availability in SF. We all told the City that this is one of the top priorities and they listened. I am looking forward to seeing other new changes come along like late night public transportation. We shall see…
If you could influence City Hall, what would you recommend they do to keep manufacturing alive?