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FROM THE FARM STAND TO GRAND STREET

A case study led by Reina Valenzuela
Head Coach of HETP & Founder of Starfish*Global

FROM THE FARM STAND TO GRAND STREET

Cavany Foods was born from the passion for culinary arts of its founder and Master Chef, Alejandro Ferrer, an immigrant from Venezuela who proudly calls Jersey City “home”. Alejandro and his team focus on delivering a delicious WOW! experience in every bite, whether it is being prepared for an individual, for a corporate event, for a social or private celebration.

Alejandro began offering products at the Grove Street Farmers’ Market in 2019. He quickly captivated loyal customers while pursuing his dream of helping people build a lifestyle that includes healthy and exciting meals. When COVID-19 changed consumer’s shopping routines, the future of Cavany Foods was threatened. Fortunately, Alejandro had enrolled in the HETP program that offered business training, counseling with a multidisciplinary team of specialists, and a vibrant business community that was supportive and ready to help Alejandro take Cavany Foods to the next level.

The Challenges

For Alejandro, the biggest challenge was adapting the services of Cavany Foods to a community that was afraid of the pandemic and didn’t have trying new food options as a priority.

Alejandro focused his efforts on helping customers realize that eating a balanced diet is more than just food to gain or lose weight, but it is one of the fundamental pillars of our wellbeing. His recipes help people discover that healthy eating doesn’t have to be tedious and boring. He developed a wide variety of products that cover all tastes, accommodating nutritional and medical requirements necessary to have strengthened health. These improvements in the business model presented new challenges for the master chef:

  • Developing new service packages and pricing strategies that cater to changing priorities and consumer expectations.
  • Keeping their existing customers engaged and growing their clientele through meal plans and the Cavany Foods mobile app.
  • Communicating to the community their policies, procedures, and improvements, reassuring customers that safety measures were followed.
  • Deciding on the right path to launch a brick-mortar storefront with an organic market that would offer grab-and-go, eat-in, curbside pick up, delivery, and room service, safely and efficiently.
  • Identifying financing sources for the development of the brick and mortar project as part of a brand new skyscraper, luxury apartment building, at 235 Grand Street.
  • Staying safe and confident in this unprecedented situation represents endless risks for small businesses.
  • Finding the silver lining in the middle of the pandemic, the shutdown was the beginning of a new chapter for Cavany Foods.

How SHCCNJ helped Cavany Foods

HETP offers program graduates:

  • Access to knowledge and tools
  • Access to networks and the Chamber #Familia
  • Access to new markets and opportunities
  • Access to capital and credit

The SHCCNJ also offered educational forums on pandemic relief and assistance with loan applications.

While Alejandro worked on revamping his business model, a new opportunity arose to realize his dream of launching a brick-mortar store, an organic market in the heart of Jersey City. Alejandro took full advantage of all the benefits of the HETP program to reach short and long-term goals. He was paired with coaches to assist him in a variety of ways:

  • Market research: Head Coach, Reina Valenzuela, assisted with market research, commuter statistics, sharing reliable sources to identify the market potential in Jersey City.
  • Business plan: Reina Valenzuela also helped adapt the business plan for Cavany Foods Organic Market.
  • Financial planning: Accounting Coach, Karem Ospino, helped Alejandro with growth projections and financial reports, especially as he negotiated the lease of the new facility.
  • Marketing plan: Program Coach, Tatiana Orozco, worked with Alejandro to develop a marketing strategy, harness the power of communicating his value proposition to each type of buyer through traditional and digital media.
  • Access to Capital: Chamber President, Luis de La Hoz, and other professionals from the HETP community, Karem Ospino and Myriam Cruz, guided access to capital.

For chefs, the main tool is their recipe book and for business owners is their business plan

The Results

Alejandro’s work ethic, dedication, and commitment to helping his community are boosting his business growth. As of today, Cavany Foods is moving operations from a commercial kitchen to its own, from Grove Street to Grand Street:

  • Obtained a generous lease arrangement with his new landlord, as he presented the benefits that Cavany Foods would bring to the residents of the high-risers. Adding a unique amenity to the buildings, representing 1500 potential new customers for Cavany Foods.
  • Invested $350,000 in equipment and construction for a state-of-the-art kitchen Growth of clientele from 215 (in 2019) to more than 500 (in 2020)
  • Increased annual revenue by 95%in 2020.                               
  • Grand opening of Cavany Foods Organic Market scheduled for the Summer of 2021.
  • Community: Alejandro realized that he gained a #Familia with all HETP graduates who have supported him.

I’ll always support the farmers in my community because this idea was born there. If we help each other, we’ll all grow -Alejandro

Cavany Foods is an organic food company that offers a creative and healthy alternative to satisfy the most demanding tastes of all kinds of special diets. We offer a variety of gourmet recipes from continental and American cuisine, to delicious vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Cavany Foods can prepare meals to meet individual needs, private lunch or dinner, and room service to tenants of The KRE Group high-rise buildings. In addition, we offer chef-at-home, a meal plan for a week or a month from our modern kitchen to your doorstep.

Alejandro Ferrer, Owner

(917) 244-9520 | cavanyfoods.com | @CavanyFoods

COMING THIS SUMMER!

Cavany Foods – Organic Market 235 Grand St., Jersey City, NJ 07302