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June 14, 2017

NYC firm buys Fork Food Lab startup

Photo / Lori Valigra
Photo / Lori Valigra
Neil Spillane, left, and Eric Holstein, co-founders of Fork Food Lab in Portland, are shown last fall when they opened their startup. The lab, which was among the successes cited in the Greater Portland's redesignation as one of the country's Manufacturing Communities for Food Production, has been acquired by Foodworks, a New York City-based company that operates two other culinary incubators in the Northeast.

Foodworks, a New York City-based company that operates two other culinary incubators in the Northeast, has acquired the Portland-based startup company Fork Food Lab.

Maine Startups Insider reported that Foodworks closed the deal on Monday, with Fork Food Lab's founders Neil Spillane and Eric Holstein selling their company for an undisclosed price but retaining with their original group of investors 100% of the real estate.

The online newsletter started by former Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News reporter Whit Richardson reported that the new owners plan to retain Spillane as general manager and are likely to keep the name Fork Food Lab. The benefit to Fork Food Lab's member companies — which have access to its commercial kitchen as they scale up — is the opportunity they'll have to expand into larger markets in the Northeast and also take advantage of Foodworks' technology expertise, Richardson reported.

Fork Food Lab, Maine's first privately-owned, membership-based commercial kitchen incubator, opened last September, after purchasing and renovating a 6,000-square-foot building on Lancaster Street in the West Bayside neighborhood of Portland. The lab provides enough space for 45 food businesses and currently serves 34 members who have access to state-of-the-art equipment, direct feedback from customers through an adjacent tasting room, as well as marketing and legal advice. Current members make anything from pies to almond milk, and salsa to coffee.

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