Harlem Park to Park and the office of Senator Brian Benjamin hosted a news conference to highlight the success of the inaugural Harlem Local Vendor Program with Whole Foods Market. Based on the initial success of the program, the HLVP announced plans for expansion of the program, with the assistance of key community and government stakeholders.
In 2015, Harlem Park to Park partnered with Whole Foods Market to launch the HLVP, a six-month vendor incubator program designed to support Harlem’s growing artisanal manufacturing industry. By providing manufacturing space, marketing, networking, business education, financing assistance and technical assistance, the HLVP economic development initiative creates opportunities for local vendors to scale their businesses to compete for contractual relations with retail and institutional purchasing partners.
By 2016, the partnership expanded to include Columbia University’s Business School, Small Business Development Center and University Campus Dining, in addition to HBK Incubates and Harlem Community Development Corporation. The HLVP partnership led to more than 20 local vendors successfully securing supplier contracts with Whole Foods Market’s first Harlem store.