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Beekman 1802 moving HQ into Innovation Center in Schenectady

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Beekman 1802 moving HQ into Innovation Center in Schenectady

Beekman 1802 is opening its headquarters in downtown Schenectady to expand the business.
Beekman 1802 moving HQ into Innovation Center in Schenectady
Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, founders of Beekman 1802, met customers at the Niskayuna Target in 2015.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Beekman 1802 is opening its headquarters in downtown Schenectady to expand the business.

Beekman 1802 of Sharon Springs will lease space in the Center City building on State Street at the Electric City Innovation Center, the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority said.

Beekman 1802 plans to invest $25,000 and create 25 jobs within five years, Metroplex said. CEO Brent Ridge said they plan to keep the farm and flagship mercantile business in Sharon Springs.

“As our company grew and we started having more national partners we needed a headquarters,” Ridge said on Wednesday. “We were looking at other places. We were looking at Minneapolis and Boston, where we’re already doing business. But Schenectady seemed like a natural fit. If we can keep our business in upstate New York that’s great for us.”

Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, known as the Beekman Boys, founded Beekman 1802 in 2008, which became known worldwide thanks to their reality TV show “The Fabulous Beekman Boys.” They also won CBS’s “The Amazing Race” in 2012.

Beekman 1802 has become one of the fastest growing consumer brands in the country, Metroplex said. The company produces and distributes local farm-sourced and artisan-inspired products.

“We’re continuing to grow the media side of the company,” Ridge said. “We launched a magazine last year and continue to develop digital content. We’ll also be hiring project managers for the areas of the business to manage food, skincare, gardening and other new initiatives.”

The business distributes through retailers, including Bed, Bath & Beyond, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom and Target. Beekman 1802 also sells books, magazines and videos.

Ridge said the next step is to find a location to house the company’s shipping and fulfillment. He said they are looking at locations in Sharon Springs and throughout Schoharie County, along with in the Schenectady area.

Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said Beekman 1802 would move in right away and occupy about 2,000 square feet with the option to expand in the future.

“We have a couple of people working out the space now,” Ridge said. “Any new employees will start working out of that office. We want to grow the media aspect of the company and have creative teams for the magazine. That’s what we’ll see happening over the next several months. Then we’ll continue to grow the e-commerce side of the businesses.”

The company was approved for the state’s START-UP NY program and will receive tax breaks at its new location.

START-UP NY provides tax breaks to qualified businesses that start, move or expand in the state in partnership with participating colleges and universities.

The company becomes the Electric City Innovation Center’s first START-UP NY tenant in partnership with Schenectady County Community College.

The Electric City Innovation Center (ECIC), an incubator for businesses and entrepreneurs, occupies more than 10,000 square feet of space on the fourth floor of Center City at 433 State St. Members include Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna; GE Global Research; Union College; Mark Little, ex-GE tech chief; and Buzz Media Solutions.

“We’re excited to add our first START-UP NY company to the ECIC community,” said Bill Kernick, executive director of the incubator, in a statement. “Beekman is a dynamic addition to help grow our local innovation ecosystem.”

Ridge said he prefers the atmosphere of the ECIC with a modern look, high energy and young start-up companies.

“In terms of facilities to house a company like ours I don’t think there is anywhere comparable in the upstate area,” he said.

He said he also likes the community effort to make the city of Schenectady bigger and better.

“There is such a tremendous amount of interest and support in revitalizing and continuing the growth in Schenectady, which is very similar to what we have in Sharon Springs,” Ridge said. “Sharon Springs has revived itself based on commitment from the community and I see that happening in Schenectady as well.”

The Beekman 1802 Mercantile store at 187 Main St. in Sharon Springs expanded in October 2014, adding a home furnishings showroom on the second floor to attract visitors from other counties and states to the town.

The store sells goods produced at their own farm and other farms. Kilmer-Purcell and Ridge purchased their farm in 2007, which originally served as a weekend getaway for the Beekman Boys.

Beekman 1802 joins several other START-UP NY companies in Schenectady at the New York BizLab, a business accelerator located at 251 State St.

Those companies include Furlocity, Fundabilities, Lottery Rewards and SureDone.

Two new tenants of the BizLab are expected to be announced in the near future by the governor’s office under START-UP NY.

Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, hviccaro@dailygazette.net or @HRViccaro on Twitter.

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