Blogging the News

Fresh Buns in Small Bakery

December 15th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Fresh Buns in Small Bakery

I went to a small Chinese Bakery in sunset park and interviewed a immigrant family living the American dream. A special thanks to Ka Ho Yeung for translating.

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The Technology World of Element Box

December 15th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on The Technology World of Element Box


Born and raised in Brooklyn, Ricky Kuang has always been interested in technology. He wasn’t only interested in the new games that people were playing with on their gameboys but technology like computers and security cameras. Young Kuang decided that one day he would open up a technology store.

His dream came true in early 2013 when he opened up Element Box in Brooklyn to provide computer services to the New York and surrounding areas. They also have a second store in the heart of Chinatown Manhattan.
“I’ve always had a passion for technology and I wanted to help people with their computer problems.” Said Kuang.

A simple general computer repair cost roughly $65 depending on the problem of your computer. Element Box strives to provide service to their customers in the neighborhood. Their goal is to provide in-depth professional services for their customers, which is something that Kuang believes big corporations lack.

“We understand that we can’t beat big corporations like Best buy or Apple, which is why we changed our industry.” Said Kuang. “We do not believe that the major businesses can provide professional services for businesses.”

Element Box now targets other small businesses by providing them with licensed CCTV/alarms and Point of Sale (POS) systems. They provide onsite services for the security industry.

“We do not believe that major businesses can provide professional services for small businesses.” Said Kuang. “They provide business to consumer only rather than business to business.”

Although Element Box’s clients are mostly other small businesses around the New York area, small time consumers can still go to their store for regular computer tune ups. If you can’t make it to their store in Bay Ridge, they are willing to come to you for a tune up.

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Social Media Strategy Paper

November 26th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Social Media Strategy Paper

Social media is a way that people can communicate, share information and create content for others online. I intend to use social media to promote my blog by using popular words as my blog titles. My blog post will show up on google searches which will allow for traffic to flow through my blog. I plan to also ask the small businesses that I have written a post about to put my blog link on their website. This will put my blog out there so that more people will know about it.

I want to reach many individuals, companies, organizations and societies that will be able to help me promote my blog. Some of them are:

– @brooklyn_news curates and publishes the most interesting news that happens in Brooklyn on their website. They curate news by categories and I believe the category that will help by blog the most is their category on “Things to do”.

@BrooklynBased is an email magazine that made it easy for subscribers to keep track of the events, people and places that were part of Brooklyn’s rise over Manhattan as the creative center of New York in the late mid-2000s. They would be good to connect with because their subscribers are interested in things around Brooklyn and may want to know about the small businesses in Brooklyn.

– @Brooklyn_Paper. The Brooklyn Paper newspaper and are the leading news media in Brooklyn. Connecting with them will allow me to find out more about what is going on in Brooklyn on a deeper level than business. For example, Brooklyn Paper probably had articles about the economy of neighborhoods which will help me to understand any changes in neighborhoods that I intend to go to for potential businesses for my blog.

– @BrooklynChamber. Brooklyn chamber of commerce is an organization that promotes economic development across the borough and serves as an advocate for its member businesses. Their mission is to promote a healthy business environment throughout Brooklyn. Connecting with them will allow me to find more businesses to write about.

– @BklynEagle. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle is published five days a week as a morning newspaper devoted to Brooklyn only. It was founded in 1841 and has continuous publications since. I think connecting with them will be helpful since I want to find old businesses that have been around for a long time.

– @DowntownBklyn. Downtown Brooklyn Partnership is a not-for-profit local development corporation that serves as the primary champion for Downtown Brooklyn as a world-class business, cultural, educational, residential, and retail destination. They strive to attract new businesses to Downtown. I think connecting with them will be key to the Downtown area of Brooklyn because they focus on a specific area of Brooklyn.

– @NYTSmallBiz. New York Times Small business section doesn’t only provide readers with articles about business news in New York. They also provide where small-business owners can compare notes, ask questions, get advice, and learn from one another’s mistakes. Many business owners visit this website daily.

– @smorgasburg. Smorgasburg is an outdoor, giant all-food market that happens on weekends from the summer to the end of November. Although it’s only seasonal, I believe it is famous enough to get readers to my blog.

– @parkslope5thave. Fifth Ave Park Slope promotes business development and improves the area’s quality of life. Park slope is a neighborhood rich with historic businesses in Brooklyn that I would be interested for my blog.

– @brooklynmag. Brooklyn Magazine provides readers with news and articles about Brooklyn in a unique way. They provide many feature articles for their readers about many different things. Some examples are food, homes, local shops, and classes.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the social media platforms that I would use to promote my blog. For Facebook I would post every time I post a new blog article up. Any of my Facebook friends would be able to read the new article as soon as I post it to the blog. I would post the article for them to read on Facebook in a read friendly way but will also provide the link to my blog if they want to see the original post. For twitter, I would also tweet every time I post a new blog article. I would follow the same strategy as Facebook but I would tweet more articles of other similar blogs to create a relationship. Hopefully other blogs will retweet my blog articles as well. For Instagram, I would find the best photo in my blog article and post my headline under it. I don’t want to give away too much on the Instagram post because people on Instagram usually just want a quick update on things. For this reason, I will add my link to each post so that anyone who wants more on the article will be able to go to my blog.

Post#1: Delicious Norwegian food at Nordic Delicacies. #Foodporn #Nomnom #Foodie #Norwegianfood

Post#2: Bike Fix at Farrara’s Cycle Shop. #bikefix #bicycle #bikerepairs

Post #3: Fresh Authentic Mexican Food at Coszcal de Allende. #Tacos #Burritos #Foodie #Mexicanfood

Post #4: Grab a drink at Celebritea Café. #drinks #yum #bubbletea


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News Roundup: Brooklyn Business

November 19th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on News Roundup: Brooklyn Business

– Small business commissioner Torres-Springer provides superstorm Sandy victims on Coney Island with grants as part of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. (Brooklyn Eagle)

– Outrageous rent at Court street is causing businesses to move elsewhere. (Brooklyn Eagle)

– Federally funded Hurricane Sandy loans program approve 30 businesses for grants. (NY Daily News)

– Growing chocolate businesses growing in Brooklyn. (Crain’s New York Business)

Pizzeria Patrizia’s plans to open at Kips Bay where two other brooklyn pizzerias have failed before. (Crain’s New York Business)

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News Roundup: Brooklyn Business

November 19th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on News Roundup: Brooklyn Business

– Small business commissioner Torres-Springer provides superstorm Sandy victims on Coney Island with grants as part of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. (Brooklyn Eagle)

– Outrageous rent at Court street is causing businesses to move elsewhere. (Brooklyn Eagle)

– Federally funded Hurricane Sandy loans program approve 30 businesses for grants. (NY Daily News)

– Growing chocolate businesses growing in Brooklyn. (Crain’s New York Business)

Pizzeria Patrizia’s plans to open at Kips Bay where two other brooklyn pizzerias have failed before. (Crain’s New York Business)

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Celebritea Café

November 10th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Celebritea Café

Childhood friends Philip Chau and William Kuang grew up together in Brooklyn New York. They always dreamt of owning a business together. After studying business management and finance in Brooklyn College, Chau took a generous loan from his aunt and teamed up with Kuang to buy a business known today as Celebritea Café.

The store opened in November of 2011 owned by Chau’s friends. Chau and Kuang bought the store and became owners in July of 2014. They plan on changing the name of the store to Chau Down Café. The name change will allow them to create a new image for themselves in the neighborhood as they try to build a reputation with the customers. The café is located in a prime location of DeKalb Avenue and Hudson Avenue. The café is only four blocks away from superintendent school Brooklyn Tech and literally across the street from private college Long Island University.

“The area is good. The traffic is really good.” said Chau, “it’s mainly high school kids that are attracted to bubble tea and there isn’t any other bubble tea place around here.”

Although Celebritea Café specializes in bubble tea, they also provide an assortment of drinks including lattes, cappuccinos, espressos and milk tea.

“I’d have to say our most popular drink is the taro milk tea though.” said Kuang.

A small bubble tea cost only $2.50 as listed on their colorful chalkboard menu. Celebritea Café also proudly serves a variety of baked goods that they import in from businesses. They have muffins and cakes but what most customers come back for are the Chinese baked buns. Celebritea Café has partnered with local bakery Bon Appetite in Sunset Park to sell fresh Chinese baked goods. Popular items like pork buns or pineapple buns are available at Celebritea Café Monday through Friday.
“William wakes up every morning at 6am to get the buns.” said Chau. “They are freshly made and delivered before the café opens.”

Celebritea Café is able to compete with other big businesses like Starbucks and Tearrific not only because of the location of their café but because of their dedication to customer service and bubble tea products.

“Our customer service is key. We strive to make customers feel comfortable when they walk in here.” said Chau. “Also our price is good because it isn’t as high as our competitors. And our milk teas are made better.”

“The quality of our milk teas are high.” added Kuang. “Our powder residue is gone unlike drinks from other places.”

Celebritea Café still struggles with promoting the drinks to the general public. Bubble tea has recently climbed high in the eyes of the public but not everyone knows about bubble tea. Bubble tea is a Taiwanese tea based drink that was invented in the 1980s. The bubbles are tapioca pearls which are simply starch extracted from cassava roots which is popular in the South America.

“The Asian community knows about bubble tea,” said Kuang. “but the American community is still adapting but there are enough Asians in this community because of the schools to make us successful.”

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Mom & Pop’s of Brooklyn

October 20th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Mom & Pop’s of Brooklyn

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Coszcal de Allende

October 20th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Coszcal de Allende

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Located in Bay Ridge Brooklyn is a small Mexican food restaurant that pops out with its teal exterior walls and bright blue frames. There is a main door used for entrance and exit but also a larger door that owners Luis and Veronica Felipe open in the summer time to allow the crisp air to roam through the restaurant. Inside the restaurant are more bright colors. The left wall is painted a bright blue but the right wall is painted an outstanding orange. Small novelty items such as sombreros and dolls fill the store as it provides the Mexican culture that surrounds the store. When Veronica is cooking, the savory smell of the meat grilling completely takes over the restaurant and teases my nose as if I wasn’t already hungry enough.

This little store is called Coszcal de Allende formerly known as Panchos. Luis and Veronica Felipe opened the restaurant in January of 2009. They had two other restaurants in Manhattan that they had to close down previous to this restaurant because of rise of the daunting rent prices. The Felipes could not afford to stay open and in 2005 and closed the two restaurants in Manhattan. After taking 5 years off of the restaurant business, Luis realized he wanted to open a restaurant again.

“We missed the restaurant business.” said Luis. “We found a spot in Brooklyn and decided to try again.”

Five years after their re-launch, Coszcal de Allende is doing well. They provide customers in the neighborhood with authentic Mexican cuisines but people will travel from other neighborhoods to enjoy Coszcal de Allende.

“Since we opened the bar recently, people have been coming from all over to eat here.” said Fabiola, daughter of the owners. “People from Park Slope and Sunset Park come over here through word of mouth to eat our food and drink at our bar.”

The previous unique name of their store, Panchos comes from the famous José Doroteo Arango Arámbula, better known by his nickname Pancho Villa. He was one of the most renowned Mexican Revolutionary generals. Pancho Villa fought for Mexican independence in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Felipes wanted their restaurant to represent a strong and courageous man who fought for their country.

Recently, they changed their name to something that wouldn’t confuse the guest as much. People often mistook the name for a poncho that people wore in the rain. The Felipes changed the name to Coszcal de Allende.

“Coszcal means jewels in Aztec dialect and we’re from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico,” said Fabiola. “So jewels of Allende is the name we can up with.”

The Felipes are really proud of their culture and exemplify it in their business. They treat their customers with extreme kindness and use only authentic ingredients in their food. Their menu is completely in Spanish but don’t worry, if my four years of high school Spanish has taught me anything, it’s that pollo mean chicken and burritos is the same in English than it is Spanish. But don’t worry, the friendly wait staff are prepared to answer any and all of their customers’ questions.

When asked how their small business is able to survive against the big corporations and the recent recession, Fabiola responded by telling me how they run their business.
“We’ve always been a family business.” said Fabiola. “Everyone has their own little job. My dad is the handy man and fixes anything that broken. My mom is the chef and cooks all the food in the kitchen. I sometimes help her but now am mainly the bar tender but also do all the creative thinking.”

Everyone works hard and does their job to provide the best food and experience for their customers. Customers can view their menu on their website and call, order online for delivery or pickup or simply make a quick stop to the cute store to enjoy the authentic food. Chipotle doesn’t even put up a fight against Coszcal de Allende.

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Farrara’s Cycle Shop

October 20th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Farrara’s Cycle Shop


I had just bought my first real bike from Target. I paid for it with my own hard earned money that I saved up all summer working for my dad’s contracting business; sweeping dusty floors and painting stuffy, windowless rooms. It was a Schwinn Men’s Trail way 28” Hybrid bike that cost me roughly $250. Not even a day of riding the bike and there was something wrong with it. I had noticed that one of the tubes of my back tires was popping out. I looked for the closest bike shop around my house and then it hit me.

I had always passed Farrara’s Cycle Shop on my way to the N train station on 20th avenue without even taking a second glance. However, living in this neighborhood for about 10 years allowed me to remember this small vintage bike shop across the street from the train station. I pushed my bike over to Farrara’s Cycle Shop where I was greeted friendly by owner Bob Farrara. I entered a small store with numerous amounts of different bike parts laying around. I explained my problem and showed him the bike.

“There’s nothing wrong with your bike.” Farrara said. “Sometimes the tubes just come out of place when the tire is deflated.”

Farrara inflated my tire with and the tubes were back in place. It was a simple fix but it was an honest fix. There aren’t many too many honest people out there anymore; many looking to make a quick buck. Bob Farrara’s father opened the bike shop back in 1928 when they also rented bikes to commercial companies for delivery service. The store is located on 20th avenue and 63rd street.
“People use to make deliveries on bikes all the time.” said Farrara.

However in the late 1950s and early 1960s, companies had stopped making deliveries by bikes. Companies would delivery by cars or not at all. As companies advanced in their delivery methods, Farrara’s Cycle Shop had to adjust and sold the commercial bike rental part of their company.

Just two years ago Farrara’s Cycle Shop had to adjust once again to their customers and the economy. They had noticed that people were not buying their bikes anymore.

“We stopped selling out bikes 2 years ago.” said Farrara. “Any bike that you could buy from us, people were buying at the big stores.”

Big corporate stores like Toys R Us and Target sell the same bikes that Farrara’s Cycle Shop sold. Customers go to the big name stores

“We always wanted to be a family oriented store.” said Farrara. “We never really got into the whole big commercial part of selling the bikes.”

Today Farrara’s Cycle Shop simply sell accessories for their bikes and provide loyal customers with tune-ups and repairs. People in the Bensonhurst neighborhood can count on Farrara’s Cycle Shop to give honest feedback and great bike tune ups.

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Delicious Norwegian food at Nordic Delicacies

October 20th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Delicious Norwegian food at Nordic Delicacies

As I walked into the small Norwegian store in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Bay Ridge, I could smell this distinct sweet aroma in the air. Store owners Helene Bakke and her daughter Arlene Rutuelo of Nordic Delicacies frequently use the spice cardamom in their baked goods. Their Kransekaker which is a traditional almond cake decorated with candies and Norwegian style waffles, which are to die for; are just a few of the numerous baked good available at this store. Nordic Delicacies also sells their “finger-licking”, famous lamb ribs and their “don’t knock it till you try it” fish pudding made with fresh cod.

As I noticed the decor in the store, my eyes were ready to pop out of my head. Scandinavian decorations in conjunction with their culture filled the store. The vibrant colors of red and blue flew freely amongst the store. Directly through the front door, customers can expect to be drawn to the food display case filled with all types prepared foods. Next to the display case is another display case but with small gifts and items. Nordic Delicacies sells authentic Norwegian cook books, assorted Norwegian style napkins, and even an electric iron to make your own delicious cookies. This store is located on 3rd avenue between Bay Ridge Avenue and Ovington Avenue. Simply hop on the next R train and get off at Bay Ridge Avenue. The store is only a block away from the train station.

Nordic Delicacies would’ve been just another store back in the 1950s but a community once rich with Norwegians was beginning to dwindle and disappear in the 1970s. Many of the Norwegian immigrants that lived in Bay Ridge from the 1950s and 1960s had moved away because of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 which put a stop on all the immigrants coming into America from Norway. However, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 opened the door for immigrants from other countries to enter America, such as Morocco and Ireland.

In 1987, Bakke and Rutuelo decided that they didn’t want to see their culture disappear from Bay Ridge. They opened Nordic Delicacies to preserve their culture in a neighborhood they call home.

“We felt a little sad and decided that we didn’t want to see our culture die.” says Rutuelo. “So we took steps to find location and after a year we opened this store.”

Using unwritten recipes passed down from previous generations, Rutuelo cooks her dishes to sell to those that still demand it. However, she didn’t always know how to cook the dishes.

“When we first started here, it drove me crazy because she did a pinch of that and a pinch of this but I would tell my mom I needed recipes!” says Rutuelo. “Hers was always perfect and I struggled but now 28-years later, I can do the same thing.”

When Nordic Delicacies first opened in 1987, most of their customers were walk-in customers who would order from the neighborhood. However as the diversity of the residents changed in the neighborhood so did the customers. What started as a favor to some loyal customers who moved away from Brooklyn became an everyday occurrence.

“We did it as a favor to some of our customers who begged us to ship to Ohio.” says Rutuelo. “I didn’t even know what mail order was back then but now we ship throughout all 50 states.”

Customers who wish to order from Nordic Delicacies can go to their website and print out an order form. Customers will need to fill out the form and mail it to the store or have the other option of calling in to place their order. Another option that is always available is the walk in option as customers can expect to be greeted warmly by the family as they take in the consuming smell of the delicious authentic Norwegian food.

Nordic Delicacies manages to stay in business because of their dedication to their community in providing a Norwegian cultural store. With big corporate stores like Target and Costco taking over Brooklyn, it is difficult for small businesses like Nordic Delicacies to stay open. Many residents buy their foods at the big businesses. When asked how they compete against the big stores Rutuelo responded by saying “Costco doesn’t sell Norwegian food.”

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