Astoria, Community, Food and Drink, Long Island City, Markets
May 24, 2013

Getting Personal with Queens County Market’s, Katrina Schultz Richter

Behind the scenes look into the world of Katrina Schultz Richter, founder of the Queens County Market

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This week, we return with another interview, shining a spotlight on a very special Queens resident.  Katrina Schultz Richter, founder of the Queens County Market, has helped unite some of the borough’s best food artisans in pretty unique local venues such as the Laughing Devil Comedy Club, Sac’s Place and most recently at SingleCut Beersmiths.  We love Katrina’s passion for the Queens community and she has a lot of love for Astoria too, which is why it’s our pleasure to feature her in this week’s interview.  And now without further ado, here’s Katrina…

1. What inspired you to create Queens County Market?

In 2012, after working in the hospitality industry for over a decade, I decided that it was time to start my own food business and open shop in the borough that I was raised in. Going through the start-up process, I soon faced some of the same challenges experienced by many first-time entrepreneurs. Those include varying and inconsistent fees for permits/licenses, a lack of affordable rental kitchen space and high costs of real estate. These are just a few of the barriers to entry, faced by culinary entrepreneurs looking to launch their food business in NYC.

Queens County Market was born out of the need to address these barriers, and provide business support and an affordable marketplace, for entrepreneurs to launch their food business, contribute to their local community, all while doing meaningful work right here in Queens.

2. What makes Queens County Market unique from other local markets?

The market features a lineup of all food vendors so you wont find any jewelry, clothing or antiques here. What you will find are unique food products and ready-to-eat cooked foods all prepared by vendors reflecting the diverse and vibrant communities of Queens & NYC.

Depending on the venue, the market has also featured live cooking demos, culinary workshops and book signings led directly by our participating vendors.

Lastly, the market is a pop-up and can only be found once a month in various locations throughout Queens. You can find out about our events at our website.

3. What’s your favorite part of running the Queens County Market?

Being able to do work that I love, serving those in my community while shining a light on the great and untapped culinary industry already existing in Queens has been very rewarding and fulfilling for me. I’m able to meet and work with some of the borough’s undiscovered, as well as, established food businesses and connect Queens neighborhoods with those entrepreneurs. Now that the market has operated for over a year, it’s also fulfilling to see some of our vendors expand their business, and even increase distribution to other cities.

4. How do you scope out new vendors for Queens County Market?

Applications are received on a rolling basis, so there are always new vendors reaching out to us. We also receive inquiries through the kitchen incubators in LIC, Brooklyn, Manhattan and The Bronx. The market is limited in the number of vendors that can be accepted at each event so often there is a waiting list for participation.

5. What do you love about Queens? And about Astoria?

Besides being known for the best ethnic foods in NYC, Queens is my hometown so there’s definitely a lot of memories and love for this borough! Astoria has given great support for Queens County Market and I’m eager to continue feeding Astorians with the best and tastiest that we can find.

You can find more information about the Queens County Market on their website, including locations for upcoming markets.  The next one is coming in June!

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