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Fresh produce company wins Jets’ $100,000 sponsorship

July 13, 2018
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In this Thursday, July 12, 2018 photo provided by the New York Jet, Harold DeLucia, founder of The Farmacy NYC, holds up a New York Jets NFL football jersey in Florham Park, N.J. DeLucia's fresh farm produce store in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen area won the Jets' Small Business Showcase Presented by M&T Bank. The Farmacy NYC will receive a $100,000 sponsorship with Jets for the 2018 season that will include signage at games in MetLife Stadium, a presence at the team's practice facility, commercial opportunities on the team's game-day radio broadcasts, and a luxury suite at a home game. (New York Jets via AP)

When Harold DeLucia was 7 years old growing up in a family of New York Giants fans, his uncle was the lone supporter of the area’s other NFL team. That uncle gave DeLucia some Jets gear, and the kid was hooked on Gang Green.

His 25-year relationship with the Jets just took a major leap.

DeLucia is the founder of The Farmacy NYC, and this week his fresh farm produce store in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen area won the Jets’ Small Business Showcase Presented by M&T Bank.

The Farmacy NYC will receive a $100,000 sponsorship with the Jets for the 2018 season that will include signage at games in MetLife Stadium, a presence at the team’s practice facility, commercial opportunities on the team’s game-day radio broadcasts, and a luxury suite at a home game.

How huge a deal is this for DeLucia’s small company, which opened its store on a previously vacant lot in 2016?

“It makes The Farmacy NYC a household brand,” DeLucia says, sounding as excited as if Sam Darnold just threw his first pro touchdown pass. “The Jets are able to launch the Farmacy name recognition, and I will take it from there. Once the people taste food like they have never tasted before, and we go out of our way to get that kind of food, they will love us.”

DeLucia punctuated his final pitch to the Jets on Thursday night by giving the contest judges a fresh ear of corn to eat. He chuckles when mentioning that many consumers don’t even know corn can be eaten raw — and is good for you.

“These things are coming from the ground into my trucks from the farms — we travel 90 to 100 miles from New York City to get the produce and we replenish every day — and into the city. We’re the only store in Manhattan like this; we turned a vacant lot into a farm oasis. And that can be replicated, because there are thousands of vacant lots in and around the boroughs, and we can do this in many communities.”

He plans to do so soon, and The Farmacy NYC is now debuting online ordering (at farmacynyc.com) for folks in Manhattan, soon to expand to the other four boroughs and then deep into the tri-state area.

What truly sold the Jets on DeLucia’s company over four other finalists was the commitment to the community.

“They were all outstanding presentations, but The Farmacy NYC especially stood out,” Jets President Neil Glat says. “In addition to their strong business model, they regularly give back to their community and the people within it. We thought they were a perfect fit for us and are happy to welcome The Farmacy NYC into the Jets family.”

The Jets aren’t the only pro team with such a program; the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Knicks have done similar initiatives, and others are considering it. Why?

Glat calls it “a wonderful opportunity for us to recognize a local company for their business success and for their community/civic involvement. Concurrently, the opportunity for a partnership with the New York Jets will give a small local company a larger growth platform and access to additional and greater resources. This platform and these resources hopefully will allow them to grow from a successful small business into a thriving large business.”

That’s exactly what DeLucia envisioned when he started The Farmacy NYC. His inspiration stems from a trip to South Africa to spread HIV awareness after both parents died from HIV complications. He witnessed an agricultural project that “made people sustainable by growing their own produce ... and that concept traveled back to the States.”

After spending time at local farms and bringing fresh produce back to the city to small markets or flea markets, or partnering with restaurants, DeLucia turned the Manhattan lot into his store.

And now, he will be partnering with the Jets.

“We are ready for it and excited and looking to take the next step,” he says. “The Jets have shown an unprecedented level of commitment by partnering with The Farmacy NYC.”

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