By G. Michael Dobbs
HOLYOKE – At last year’s Holyoke Brick Race, all John Grossman wanted was something to eat – perhaps a nice falafel sandwich.
The food trucks, though, that had promised to come to event to feed the audience never materialized and in fact Mayor Alex Morse actually went off on a search of food items for the crowd.
That was the inspiration for Grossman to do something and he has undertaken an Indiegogo crowd-sourcing campaign to raise $20,000 for a food cart to sell his homemade falafel sandwiches.
“Its food I’ve making for myself for decades,” he told Reminder Publications
For those who’ve not tried the Middle Eastern dish, Grossman said he first makes a ground chickpea dumpling then deep fries it to a crispy texture. He creates a salad with tomatoes and cucumbers and adds shredded picked cabbage. These ingredients are seasoned with tahini sauce and wrapped in Lebanese thin Pita bread.
“You roll it up and it’s a great hand-held sandwich,” he said.
Grossman’s Holyoke Hummus Company campaign is at www.indiegogo.com/projects/holyoke-hummus-company-food-cart#home
. His fundraising effort currently is at $1,805 and will conclude on May 21.
Those who make contributions to the campaign will receive a wide variety of bonuses.
He has said he will take whatever money he has raised to start selling the sandwiches even if he doesn’t have a cart. He would like to start selling the sandwiches at this year’s Brick Race on June 7.
Although food carts and trucks are commonplace in larger cities, Grossman said he hopes his food cart would help stimulate other carts to sell food at Holyoke events, such as Holyoke Winter Carnival, St. Patrick’s Day and Noche De San Juan.
“It fills a need in the city,” he said.
The $20,000 will enable him to buy a new food cart with cooking and refrigeration units as well as a generator.
He wrote on the website, “Food is fun. Falafel is really fun. It’s a treat to eat something fun at an event. As a Holyoker I want the richness of experiences that I can experience in other cities right here. I know that I have a good impression of a city from attending a fun event in that city. The Holyoke Hummus Company will be good for our city. By crowdsourcing the startup money I am able to take more speculative risks because I won't have the overhead of a large debt to service. I will be able to go to smaller and more diverse events because I will be focusing on delivering the product and building a brand (which very positively and deliberately includes ‘Holyoke’) rather than making loan payments or ceding percentages of ownership to divergent interests. Holyoke Hummus Company success, like other successes in the city, will help bring even more interest and activity to a rising giant on the Connecticut River.
He explained the food cart would be a side project for him as he has a full-time job that he loves.
“I love Holyoke and I want to be part of the rising tide that is going on here,” he said.