Unlock the potential of co-warehousing as we sit down with Jeff Mirel from the Rosenblum Companies to unwrap the intriguing world of Launchbox. This episode is a treasure trove of insights for entrepreneurs aiming to soar in e-commerce, light manufacturing, and product assembly without getting weighed down by traditional warehousing constraints. We step into the avant-garde setting of the New York Capital Region’s Launchbox, where flexible lease terms meet a vibrant community of like-minded innovators. Picture a space that not only accommodates your logistical needs but also propels you forward with amenities like a co-working café and a photo media studio. It’s all here, and we’re peeling back the layers to reveal how businesses are leveraging this strategic near Interstate 87 and Albany International Airport to accelerate their growth.
Steve Melito: Hey everybody, welcome to New York State Manufacturing Now, the podcast that’s powered by FuzeHub. I’m your host, Steve Melito. Today we’re talking to Jeff Mirel from the Rosenblum Companies, a developer and owner operator of over 1.5 million square feet of properties in New York’s Capital Region. Recently, Jeff and his colleagues started something called Launchbox. It’s a flexible workspace option for companies in industries such as e-commerce, light manufacturing and product assembly. Jeff Mirel, welcome to New York State Manufacturing Now.
Jeff Mirel: I’m excited to be here, Steve.
Steve Melito: Thank you Fantastic. So, Jeff, Launchbox is a form of co-warehousing, and that’s a term I hadn’t heard of until I went to your website. What is co-warehousing and what are its advantages over other types of industrial leases?
Jeff Mirel: So the best way to describe it probably is that co-warehousing combines the advantages of co-working, which I think people are more familiar with, with traditional warehousing. So right now there’s really nowhere in the Capital Region that companies can access right-sized space in a quality building with the necessary amenities and flexibility to grow. So if we think about alternative self-storage facilities, they don’t have loading docks or power-in units and they don’t necessarily want you working in those spaces, and then regular industrial warehouses are generally going to be too large and costly for small businesses. So we sort of fill a very important gap by providing in our space approximately 90 move-in ready, individually locking warehouse and work suites that range in size anywhere from 150 square feet up to 1,000 square feet, and they’re available for terms as short as six months. So members can really add space as they need it and we can kind of grow with them.
Steve Melito: Very good. So that’s a lot of units. How do you know that the demand is there? What type of research did you look at when you crunched the numbers? What made the Rosenblum company see this as a viable market opportunity?
Jeff Mirel: Sure. Well, obviously, we kind of looked at the numbers. I think the creative industries in the Capital Region is actually one of the highest-employing verticals in terms of industry segments. So makers in particular, which we think the space will fit well. Obviously, we have a number of growing industries in the region wind, for sure, and nanotech. So I think spin-off companies, truly that clustering effect that we’re hoping to achieve and we want to provide that beachhead for sort of those smaller suppliers, manufacturers, who want to come into the market, want to be co-located with these larger industries. But also, I mean post-COVID, obviously, we’ve had a huge explosion in just retail and e-commerce businesses, really folks that are operating out of their homes or out of their basements or again working between self-storage to manage product, and this is an opportunity for those businesses that really want to. Either they’re sort of making, they’re manipulating, they’re storing and they’re shipping product.
Steve Melito: Very good. So Launchbox is located at 6th Northway Lane in Latham, New York, which is both near I-87 and Albany International Airport, and realtors always talk about location, location, location, and that’s critical. But what do you get as a company if you base your business at Launchbox?
Jeff Mirel: So that’s a great question, because that’s sort of the other side of this co-working meets warehousing concept. You’re not just getting this dedicated space for your company, but we actually provide a range of supportive amenities. So all of our members have full access to a co-working cafe and kitchen, a photo media studio, a meeting room with video conferencing, a picnic area, showers and, I think critically, a loading dock that has one drive-up pay and two loading docks with levelers so we can accommodate trucks and trailers of all sizes. And of course, also critical to that is all the major carriers will make regular, daily pickups. So in addition to that, our members have access to material handling equipment, so pallet jacks and hand carts.
And then I think what is sort of the secret sauce is our community management staff. So you know we’re staffing the facility with folks who are there to help receive and move, you know, your product to your workspace. They are there to help with technology issues if you’re having an important meeting or you have a client coming in. So it’s very much a facilitation. And then what’s really great is pricing is all-inclusive. So a flat monthly fee not only covers all maintenance, all utilities, but your internet, your printing and copying, coffee and snacks and, of course, access to all the common spaces that I just mentioned.
Steve Melito: That’s great. Let’s talk about the Photo Media Center that you have, and the reason I’m interested in this is many startups don’t have great collateral for their products. What’s that like? Are there cameras? Is there a space with backdrops? How can it help you?
Jeff Mirel: So it’s pretty essential. It is a space with backdrops, with movable lighting, you know, with some sort of prop shelves and things like that. So it gives you the basics. We’re not necessarily providing the camera, but we’re providing the space and the props and the accoutrement that you would need to take those shots. Of course, these days, you know, we have super professional cameras in our iPhones, so. But the nice thing too is, you know, we have professional relationships with photographers in the area. So if someone does want to, you know, sort of elevate that experience, we can connect them with our network of vendors. And, by the way, that’s not just, you know, photographer and media people, but as a member of Launchbox, you also have access to discounted shipping, to discounted shipping materials. So we’re really trying to think 360 degrees about what the needs of our members are and provide, you know, value access to them.
Steve Melito: Very important. How about power in the building? If I need to run some equipment, am I going to have what?
Jeff Mirel: I need Hypothetically. Yes, I mean every single unit has electrical outlets in it and we can certainly make special accommodations as requested. But generally speaking, we’re trying to make the units as turnkey as possible.
Steve Melito: Excellent. So another question I have is do I have to share my warehouse suite with other members and I ask that because co-warehousing sounds like co-working, but you’re laughing because I think there’s a difference.
Jeff Mirel: No, you hit the nail on the head in terms of you know and we’re obviously this is a very new product for our market. It’s the first that we’re aware of in upstate New York. So you know, we’re really trying to educate the market at the same time that we’re introducing it. So, no, your suite is yours. We have electronic access control. You have full private locking, so your suite is dedicated to you. And then you have access to all the shared services as well. And again, we start as small as 150 square feet, but as your business grows, we can accommodate you right up to 1000 square feet and or multiple units.
Steve Melito: Great. What if I want an office? Is that an option?
Jeff Mirel: Actually it is. You know we expect that a number of our members will just want to work right out of their warehouse work suite. What’s really nice is the facility is fully climate controlled so you can work there 24, seven, 365 days a year air conditioning and heating. And actually what’s really interesting is this building was what we call a deep energy retrofit. It was a vacant industrial building that we did a full renovation on and as part of that the building will actually achieve net zero. So we’ll actually be producing more energy on the rooftop with our solar panels. Then we’ll consume in the building. But part of that is we also have what we call energy recovery ventilation, so there’s a continuous flow of fresh air coming into the warehouse facility.
However, if you do want to separate kind of your work warehouse suite space from your E Coral at administrative or corporate space, we have two options in the building. We have both private lockable offices and those can be anywhere from one person to teams of six to nine and we also have what we call jump suites. So these are fully furnished turnkey suites. They have reception area, private conference room, a kitchen net and several private offices. And for a company going into one of our jump suites, you also get a little bit of additional visibility. So you have your corporate name logo on exterior monument sign and building signage. But I should say, going back to the question about do I have to share my warehouse space? Obviously you do not. And the other thing is we give you corporate presence there as well. So you get your logo company name right on your suite. And then what’s great is during the day, if you do have clients coming in, then when they enter into the main building, you also have logo presence there. So you have a real corporate presence in the building.
Steve Melito: Good and FuzeHub, as you know, works with a lot of startups and recently you hosted two of my FuzeHub colleagues, Eric Fasser and Zachary Sauro from the Solutions Program. Is co-werehousing a good option for a startup? And I ask that because some startups outgrow their space, they’re hesitant to make a long-term commitment on a lease and you’ve got founders that work all hours of the day and the night.
Jeff Mirel: Yeah, we are trying to address each one of those, you know. So our facility has 24-7 access. Again, it’s a secure building, electronic access control both to the units and to the building, as well as ample surveillance cameras, occupancy lighting, so automatic lighting that comes on when you enter the space. So you know we understand that some businesses are going to work odd hours or they may have to receive materials. You know before or after, you know normal business hours and we can accommodate that.
In terms of growth, again, our terms are only six months to a year and if you do need to grow in the middle of your term, we’ll work with you to facilitate that. So we’re trying to achieve ultimate convenience, ultimate flexibility, with minimal upfront capital investment, which I think is really crucial. You know we don’t want our startup businesses worrying about their space. We want them focused on their operations and that’s what we’re trying to do is remove sort of all of those, if you will, important but still just distractions from what they’re focusing on, and you know that’s why I think it’s great for small manufacturers anywhere from doing hand assembly right up to, you know, using light equipment like 3D printers. You know, as well as our retail and e-commerce businesses and also, frankly, you know service providers. So you know general electrical plumbing contractors, maintenance companies, you know technical services. This is a solution for all of them.
Steve Melito: Excellent, and a company wants to learn more about Launchbox and maybe even schedule a tour. What do they do? What’s the next step for them?
Jeff Mirel: Well, we’re trying to make that as easy as possible as well. So, obviously, like everybody else, I’m going to send an interested parties to our website, which is www.launchbox.com. They can also just call us at 518-250-4838 or email hello at launchbox.com and on the website you can book a tour right there. You can literally schedule it, calendar it and one of our community managers will be there to walk you through the space and show you what we’ve got.
Steve Melito: Beautiful Jeff Mirel. Thanks so much for being on New York State Manufacturing now, Steve thank you.
Jeff Mirel: It’s an honor to be here. I love what FuzeHub does. It’s so critical to fueling our entrepreneurial and small business ecosystem here in the state of New York and just really excited to work with you all you too.
Steve Melito: And manufacturing is alive and well, not just in the capital region, but across the entire state. Absolutely so. We’ve been talking to Jeff Mirel, principal of the Rosenblum companies in Albany, New York, and if you’re a startup, I hope that you find this information to be particularly salient for where you’re at and your growth is a company. There’s another opportunity I want to make sure that you don’t miss out on, and that is the FuzeHub’s Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Innovation Fund.
Now the first round of this grant opportunity opened recently and it closes on February 14th, Valentine’s Day. The awards for this round are up to 65,000. So it’s a great opportunity if you’re a startup or even established company, to work with a nonprofit that’s part of this valuable New York State ecosystem. To learn more about grant opportunities, in particular, the first round of the 2024 Manufacturing Grant, go to fuzehub.com slash 2024 dash manufacturing dash grants and if all else fails and you can’t remember that, just go to www.fuzehub.com, look around, send us an email. We’ll be happy to help you. So, on behalf of FuzeHub and New York State Manufacturing now, this is Steve Melito signing off.