The Hub

The United Business Cooperative aim’s to create a hub where the focus is on sustainability, growth, agricultural technology and access to healthy food, while at the same time addressing the issues of food insecurity in the South Bronx. The hub will prioritize showcasing what it means to grow food through green technology and creating a hyperlocal system where the gaps within sustainability are closed. This will start with first creating jobs, as the Born Juice will create 20 new jobs and all positions will be sourced to Bronx locals. The idea is to hire locally and develop these neighborhoods and their people, and give them an opportunity to learn and earn livable wages, all while being exposed to a sustainable atmosphere. Overall, the idea of a hub, on top of focusing on health and wellness, is addressing the systematic disinvestment in communities like the South Bronx. As a plus, the United Business Cooperative was founded by a Bronx native, Henry Obispo, another hyperlocal component. He is addressing issues that he has first hand experience with, as they are issues within the neighborhoods he himself grew up in. Through initiatives like The Bronx Salad, Bronx Green Menu, and Boogie on the Boulevard’s “The Oasis”, Henry is creating ACCESS and exposing an entire demographic to healthier lifestyle choices and overall community wellness and happiness.

Collective Purchasing

The cooperative idea emerged after discussions of challenges faced by small immigrant-owned food retailers in the Bronx who need to comply with ever-increasing government regulations for restaurants in New York City and have disproportionally high costs for the purchase and delivery of merchandise and produce when compared to their larger counterparts with stronger bargaining power.  Conversations revealed that the retailers would benefit from joint marketing and training efforts that include upgrades to technology and workforce skills as well as regulatory compliance assistance.

The UBC model has a great potential for replication in other sectors that wish to benefit from economies of scale and in neighborhoods where similarly sized and scoped immigrant businesses exist, in New York City and nationally.