For Puerto Ricans and visitors to the Caribbean island unfamiliar with the myriad New York State-produced food and beverage products there now is a place to try out many of them. The New York State Discovery Center, created to forge stronger travel and trade ties, officially opened on Thursday on Calle San Francisco in the Old San Juan area of the island’s capital city, with both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla on hand to do the honors.
The center includes an I Love NY and Taste NY store where visitors may purchase various items including wine grown, made, or otherwise produced in New York. It is a continuation of the Taste NY program that has used a variety of efforts — trade shows, vending kiosks, and others — in-state to promote purchases of the items, but it is the first such effort outside the state.
“It’s very fitting that we are opening this space here today,” García Padilla said during the Thursday ceremony, “because just last month our administration opened a storefront in New York City to promote everything that Puerto Rico has to offer and encourage people to visit. Both of these stores are win-win ventures. They’re a win for small business owners in both New York and Puerto Rico, because they’re gaining an extra foothold into a vibrant commercial market that is ready to do business.”
Cuomo concurred, saying, “New York has always had a special connection with Puerto Rico, and today we are taking a step to make that relationship stronger than ever. This office is a new gateway to the Empire State, where trade and tourism partnerships can be developed and people in Puerto Rico can get a taste of what New York has to offer. This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our state’s long and close history with Puerto Rico, and I’m eager to see it grow in the days to come.”
Betty Enríquez has been appointed director of the New York State Office of Trade and Tourism. She has a background in strategic marketing and business development in both New York and Puerto Rico.
Among initial items available at the center, and the locations of their producers, are Bobby Sue’s Nuts (Chappaqua), Brad’s Organic Salsas (Haverstraw), Empire Mayonnaise (Brooklyn), Fly Creek Cider Mill Salsas (Fly Creek), Gatherers Granola (Schenectady), Hurd Orchards Sauces (Holley), JNB Foods (Albany), Joe’s Jerky (Sherrill), Kerber’s Farm Preserves (Huntington), Lola Granola Bar (Croton Falls), Maple Hill Creamery (Stuyvesant), Merle Maple Farm Maple Products (Attica), Mike’s Hot Honey (Brooklyn), Miss Sydney’s Chutney (Fuero Bush), Nelson Farms – Apple Crisp Mix, Peanut Brittle, Chocolate Maple Topping (Cazenovia), North Fork Potato Chips –Sidor Family Farm (Cutchogue), NYBUZZ Honey (Tivoli), Old School Favorites (Southampton), Roni-Sue’s Chocolates (New York), Saranac Craft Soda (Utica), Saratoga Peanut Butter Company (Saratoga), Saratoga Salsa (Saratoga), Saratoga Spring Water (Saratoga), Serendipitea Teas (Manhasset), Shaver-Hill Maple Farm Maple Products (Harpersfield), Slickepott Caramel Sauce (Delhi), Tom’s Bootleg BBQ Sauce (Albany), and Weber’s Mustard Condiments (Buffalo). And, New York State wines, ciders and spirits will be added to the array.