Business Incubator at Calverton

In the iced tea business, some like it hot

By GREGORY ZELLER // From the When You’re Hot, You’re Hot file comes the PeKANT Tea Co., a sort of Nestea plunge for the hot-pepper set. Cofounders Michael Circosta and Michael Romano, both longtime regional sales reps for Massachusetts-based medical-device titan Boston Scientific, are now about three years into their spicy entrepreneurial adventure, which crosses its teas with molten-hot habaneros – adding a tongue-numbing, surprisingly refreshing kick to the traditional sweet tea. It sounds counterintuitive…


Heavy-hitting LI BioMentor Initiative makes it official

By GREGORY ZELLER // A high-octane effort to unite regional bioentrepreneurs with qualified business mentors has formally launched – though the Long Island BioMentor Initiative is already quite busy. The LIBMI officially accepted its first program applications in a “launch event” Thursday morning at the de Seversky Mansion on the New York Institute of Technology’s Old Westbury campus. But the BioMentor Initiative is already a year into a “pilot phase,” according to founding mentor Mark…


Filling a modest plate, sweetly, at startup Foodcubate

By AMY ONORATO // The food industry is Anna Kotler’s bread and butter. The 20-year marketing veteran built her career working on brand development for food-focused Fortune 500 companies like Campbell’s Soup Co. and Conagra Brands Inc. – but when it came to defining her own recipe for success, Kotler wasn’t satisfied with the corporate climate’s structured lifestyle. “After working for those big packaged-food companies, I wanted a little more flexibility in my schedule,” Kotler…


Innovation’s past, present, future at SBU showcase

By GREGORY ZELLER // Stony Brook University is gearing up for its annual business-development victory lap. Hosted by the university’s Office of Economic Development, SBU’s second-annual Incubator Company Showcase is a chance for the multifaceted school to flex its innovation muscle – a joint presentation of its Centers of Excellence, Centers for Advanced Technology and myriad business incubators, designed to highlight the cutting-edge creativity and business acumen comprising SBU’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. It’s also a chance…


New director for busy Business Incubator at Calverton

By GREGORY ZELLER // Stony Brook University’s Business Incubator at Calverton has a new head honcho. Chris Kempner, a former executive director of the Town of Riverhead’s Community Development Agency, will take over as associate director of the Calverton incubator as of May 15, SBU announced Thursday. Kempner officially succeeds Monique Gablenz, who retired from her position as Calverton Business Incubator director in the fall of 2016. Incubator management temporarily passed to Jeffrey Saelens, executive…


For this niche chef, the bright ideas keep coming

By GREGORY ZELLER // The lightbulb moment was clear. But the lightbulb? That was more happenstance. Entrepreneurial chef Alaila-Lee Lawrence can trace the branches of her Clovesz beverage line straight through her family tree: her grandfather, the Orlando restaurateur; her cousin, the Canadian caterer; her grandmother, the matriarch who migrated from Jamaica to England to the United States to find a better life for her family. The heart of her drinks – sorrel, a perennial…


Her sofrito is better, and it’s nothing personal

By GREGORY ZELLER // From the Different Definitions of Success file comes Vivian Jarrett, who boasts a dynamite product and a lock-down strategy to keep it quiet. She also has a compelling backstory and a noble mission involving centuries of tradition, all of which ties neatly into Jarrett’s master plan to keep her sofrito from the masses. For now. As an entrepreneur, Jarrett is a cultural phenomenon of sorts, heavy on the culture, more interested…


Cooking With Chef Michelle

For Ms. Michelle’s, no place like HomeGoods

Add HomeGoods to the growing list of regional and national retailers carrying Ms. Michelle’s gluten-free cookies. Just two months after announcing a regional distribution deal with Walmart stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, entrepreneurial gourmet Michelle Gillette Kelly and her husband/business partner Chris Kelly have announced a new pact placing their specialty goods in HomeGoods retail outlets. There was no immediate word on the scope of the new distribution deal, which Gillette Kelly…