By Natalia V

The Journey from Music to Business

Brian Binsack in The End New York art-gallery

Brian Binsack, 30, is one of four owners of The End New York in Brooklyn, a new multifunctional creative facility, which combines professional recording and photo studio and a rehearsal room. It has a rooftop space for social event rentals and even art-gallery with paintings and sculptures of contemporary artists.

Binsack signed a lease for the space at the western waterfront on Greenpoint Avenue in February this year, and held the first arts event in May 2011. Later in the fall, the End New York finished the latest makeover works and organized a launch party to introduce their latest addition, a new performance venue.

Binsack is a professional composer converted into a businessman. In a short interview he describes his journey from music to entrepreneurship and approach in making a successful startup in New York City.

Listen to the Interview with Bryan 

Listen to Brian Playing Cello

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Greenpoint: Small Business Ventures

- Shops signs in Greenpoint. Photo by Flickr member Anna Majkowska

If you are going to open your business in Greenpoint, be ready for a red tape – city, federal and state taxes, both personal and corporate. Besides, learn about types of business that have more chances to succeed in the neighborhood.

Ed Veneziano, the owner of men’s clothing store Cato’s Army & Navy and one of the co-chairs of the Greenpoint Business Alliance, said many businesses – new and old – struggle with rent.

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Would You Dare to Launch a Startup?

Brooklyn Woodwind and Brass shop at Bedford Ave., Greenpoint. Photo by Natalia V. Osipova

Brooklyn Woodwind and Brass is the only shop in Brooklyn that sells and repairs jazz players’ instruments.

The owner, Eric Downs, 42, opened his niche business about a year ago. He sells saxophones, flutes, trumpets and other instruments. He said the shop has been profitable since the first 30 days of operation.

“There is no competition,” he said. Located on Bedford, the Brooklyn Woodwind and Brass serves professional musicians and all the high schools in the area.

He said he was confident about launching a startup during the economic downturn. Downs is a professional saxophone player. He said it gives him an advantage because most craftsmen who work on music instruments are not.

He saved to open his shop in Greenpoint for 10 years. The rent security deposit was $20,000. Downs said he still needs time for a payback. In terms of payroll and balance sheets, he hopes to recover his initial investments in the shop in one or two years. His business is yet in transition stage. “I am nearly at the point to start hiring people,” said Downs.

He said he was lucky to get a commercial lease in Greenpoint. In New York City, in general, there’s a fight for a good place to rent. The landlord is in the restaurant business so he didn’t consider Downs a competitor. There’s no possible way to try to open a restaurant in this area, – said Downs. “A usual lifespan of a new restaurant in New York is six to nine months,” he said, “Competition is ridiculous.”

Blue ocean strategy worked perfectly for Downs. In case you are a businessman planning to launch a start-up in Greenpoint, here’s a bunch of helpful resources.

The Greenpoint Business Alliance (GBA) is an association of merchants, businesses, property owners and community organizations of the neighborhood. Its mission is to support the economic development through collaboration of businesses within the 11222 zip code.

If you have not yet come up with your business idea, a local blog could inspire you to bring the neighborhood something everybody is longing for.

The New York Times offers an efficient tool to find recent real-estate prices in Greenpoint. Another helpful website mns.com has recent rent statistics.

Finally, a good way to save up is to explore the waterfront area. Developments there are eligible for a 25-year tax exemption if 20% of the on-site units are provided for low-income households or 25 percent of the on-site units are provided for low and moderate households, New York City Greenpoint-Williamsburg inclusionary housing program reports.

Are you planning to launch a start-up in Greenpoint? Why do you think it’s the right or wrong time?

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