BROOKSIDE—A noted but financially troubled Brookside business incubator—headquarters of multiple catering businesses and food factories—has been pulled back from the brink of insolvency with a city grant. Now, Nuestra Culinary Ventures (NCV) faces the challenge of plugging up its leaky finances.
“There’s definitely going to be some change to bring this place back to where it needs to be,” said director Ted Nypaver. “I strongly believe in the program. How do you make [it] fiscally work, that’s the question.”
Having lost over $700,000 over its four-and-a-half year history, NCV hired Nypaver to direct its own demise, which was to be finalized at the end of this year. But in the 11th hour—or more accurately Nov. 15—Mayor Thomas Menino announced a $75,000 grant from the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) to fill what they called a $150,000 finding gap. A further $25,000 was donated by mega-developer Steve Samuels and Menino is asking others in the private sector to pony up a further $50,000.
Now, the city will be providing NCV with much the same assistance NCV does for its fledgling businesses: technical assistance, financial resources and even the use of a storage facility. As it happens, it was a $200,000 DND grant that started up NCV back in 2002.
As many as five of around 30 food industry businesses that use the NCV kitchen facility at the Brewery complex flew the coop when the feathers hit the fan, but Nypaver says that is just another indicator of the incubator’s success.
“It’s not a loss to the program,” he said. “It’s a gain. You’ve gained a success story.”
One of the departees, Tara Deshpande, said there were more than just financial problems to look after. Security and cleanliness were lacking towards the end, she said.
“It’s great to have a second lease on life, but it won’t last forever,” she said. “If they want to survive they need to fix some of these problems. I’m glad [it still exists] though, because it gave me a place to start without much investment.”
Executive Director Evelyn Friedman said she and NCV’s staff and board were still figuring out their next steps the day after they were notified of the grant.