October 27, 2019 PROSPERITY ALERT – Esperanto Launches Expansion With Opening of Commercial Bakery in Ballston Spa
Ballston Spa, NY – The Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, a Saratoga County-based economic development organization, yesterday gathered business, community and government leaders to help an iconic Saratoga Springs restaurant launch an exciting expansion that will create and retain nearly 40 jobs, upskill employees, accelerate production, and generate new revenue and growth opportunities.
Esperanto, a fast-casual restaurant that has been a Caroline Street institution for nearly 25 years, officially opened its USDA-certified commercial bakery at 357 Milton Avenue in Ballston Spa. The 2,700-square-foot facility will enable Esperanto to increase production of its signature Oboy – originally known as Doughboys – a handheld snack/on-the-go meal made of chicken, cheeses and secret spices, and cooked in pizza dough.
With the Oboy’s widespread name recognition, a strong restaurant, concession and catering presence, and the rising popularity of “grab and go” food items, Esperanto sees a major opportunity to build and grow a vibrant wholesale business. The full-scale production facility will allow it to meet pent-up demand from a number of soon-to-be wholesale customers, most notably Stewart’s Shops, while also pursuing new prospects to sell Oboys in convenience stores, college dining facilities, sports and entertainment venues, and other locations.
“The uniqueness and broad appeal of our signature Oboy has created mouth-watering opportunities to grow our business. The only thing standing in our way has been finding a way to make more Oboys, and now, this commercial bakery opens the door,” said Will Pouch, founder and owner of Esperanto. “We appreciate the incredible support and guidance of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership throughout this process, and the funding from WDI to ensure our workforce is prepared to build their careers and our business. This is an exciting time and we’re thrilled to be growing in Saratoga County, with the people and within the community that have gotten us this far.”
In evaluating and pursuing the expansion, Esperanto was guided over the past year by the Saratoga Partnership, which provided a host of business and technical services, including site location, procurement assistance, and workforce development expertise. The latter included connecting Esperanto with the Workforce Development Institute (WDI), which awarded a $15,000 grant to support employee training and development essential to opening and successfully operating the bakery.
“We are delighted to support Will and the team at Esperanto as they double down on Saratoga County with the opening of their commercial bakery,” said Marty Vanags, President of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership. “This expansion highlights the success of this homegrown, community-oriented business, and illustrates the vital role the Saratoga Partnership plays in keeping and growing local businesses that are the heart of Saratoga County’s economy.”
“WDI is very excited to be a part of the workforce development opportunities that Oboy represents. Our main goal is to provide support that leads to retaining and growing good jobs – being a part of this initiative serves our mission perfectly,” said Crickett Thomas-O’Dell, Regional Director – Capital Region, WDI. “To be able to assist with the growth and expansion of this business which over time will lead to new employees and higher-level positions for the current employees is the economic stimulation WDI is pleased to be a part of. The energy, enthusiasm and commitment represented by Oboy will only continue to grow and provide a positive financial boost regionally.”
Esperanto is using the funding from WDI to support employee training in two areas: bakery expansion, including USDA HAACP Certification for Food Safety and ServSafe; and marketing, to include digital product marketing, branding and social media. Those training efforts will prepare half of Esperanto’s current 25-person workforce to assume increased responsibilities in production, packaging, shipping, inventory control and food handling, while also creating a similar number of new positions, both to backfill and to take on new roles in sales, marketing, and customer management, serving both the bakery and restaurant.
Meanwhile, the bakery is expected to drive a sales increase of 80 percent annually over the next three years, spurred initially by reintroducing Oboys in select Stewart’s Shops.
As an avid Oboy fan, Gary Dake, president of Stewart’s Shops, said, “I made the original suggestion to carry Oboys in our shops, and I’m so glad I did. From day one, this has been a win-win partnership, allowing us to support another local business and offer our customers another choice in quality, convenient comfort food.”
“The expansion of Esperanto’s commercial baking operations into a new facility in Ballston Spa is a win for job creation and economic development in the 49th Senate District and a win for customers who will get to enjoy their delicious Oboys that can now be purchased at Stewart’s Shops and elsewhere. Congrats to Will Pouch and Esperanto and the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership for helping to make this expansion possible,” said Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville).
“It is wonderful to see the commercial bakery expansion by Esperanto in Ballston Spa. This is just one example of the growing economic prosperity here in Saratoga County,” said Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh. “I wish Esperanto continued success!”