Empire State Development Announces Expansion and New Location for Top Seedz in Erie County

August 31, 2022

Artisan Cracker Company Moving into 34,000-Square-Foot Production Facility in City of Buffalo

43North Startup Competition Winner is Scaling Up and Automating Production in Response to Increased Demand for its Unique Products

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the expansion of Top Seedz, an artisan cracker manufacturer, to a larger production facility at 101 Oak Street in downtown Buffalo.  Presently working out of a 6,500-square-foot facility in Cheektowaga, Top Seedz will relocate to the 34,379-square-foot Buffalo location, where it will produce and ship its healthy crackers while retaining 28 existing jobs and hiring an additional 20 to support its growth. This expansion builds on Western New York’s food processing sector, an important segment of the region’s overall strategy for economic development.

“Western New York is well known for producing a wide variety of food products and we're happy to congratulate Top Seedz as this sector's latest success story,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight. “The ongoing growth of the 43North competition winner is proof that well-placed investments in quality startups can pay off with new job creation, innovative products and widespread industry recognition. Top Seedz is a great addition to Western New York, where it will contribute to the overall strength of the regional economy.” 

Founded in 2017, Top Seedz hand-makes seed crackers, roasted seeds and seed cracker mix. Currently, the Top Seedz workers—most of whom are refugees who settled in the Buffalo area—are producing approximately one million individual containers of crackers per year.  All its products are organic, gluten-free, and vegan.  By relocating to a larger facility, the company will be able to automate some of its labor-intensive, by-hand production and packaging. Automation will save time, increase efficiency and increase output to six million packages per year, and help provide a consistently delicious product.

Rebecca Brady, Top Seedz President and CEO, said, “We’re excited about our next big move and grateful to Empire State Development for supporting our continued expansion in Buffalo. Yet again we are impressed by the support provided to small businesses in Western New York by Empire State, 43North, Invest Buffalo-Niagara, and the entire start-up eco-system. We are especially pleased to be able to move our HQ and primary production facility to a suitable location in downtown Buffalo, continuing the rejuvenation of the downtown area in partnership with Iskalo Development. Finding a location to suit our expansion plans was challenging, but we were fortunate to have been expertly advised on this project by Ed McGinn of Newmark Ciminelli and Danielle Eisen Shainbrown of Bellwether Advisors. Top Seedz has ambitious plans for growth, and with the support of the business community in Western New York we feel confident and excited about the future.”

ESD is supporting the company’s growth with up to $315,000 through the performance-based Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit Program in exchange for promised job commitments. The company also has the distinction of being the $1 million, 2021 winner of the state supported 43North startup competition. Judges of the competition were captivated by the company’s potential when Top Seedz won the top prize in last year’s competition, making it one of the Buffalo Niagara region’s most promising homegrown startups.

Colleen E. Heidinger. 43North President, said, “43North is thrilled for Top Seedz to reach this major milestone in their growth trajectory. Top Seedz embodies the impact that entrepreneurship can have on whole communities, and this move is sure to create even more ripple effects for years to come.” 

Senator Tim Kennedy said, “Top Seedz continues to grow its fanbase here in Western New York and across the country, and now it will grow its innovative operation to meet the increasing demand nationwide. We’re thrilled to see the 43North winner expand its footprint here in the City of Buffalo, and truly appreciate the ways in which they have enriched our local economy with a commitment to a strong and diverse workforce.” 

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “The growth of Top Speedz is an example of another successful business start-up that began and has now expanded its roots in Western New York. I applaud Empire State Development for its strategic investment of New York State resources to strengthen the economic development of this region.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “Growing small businesses strengthens Erie County’s economy many times over and the expansion of Top Seedz is a good example of that. Not only does this expansion retain existing jobs locally, it creates new ones while increasing production by a factor of six. Projects like this are how our economy grows, diversifies and succeeds.”

City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said “I’m thrilled Top Seedz has picked the Oak Street corridor for its major manufacturing expansion, bringing 28 current workers and at least 20 new positions, to downtown Buffalo. This location is ideal for East Buffalo residents seeking work close to where they live, as well as those who rely on public transportation. Top Seedz is another example of a 43 North winner deciding to stay and grow here in Buffalo. I thank Empire State Development for supporting Top Seedz’s Buffalo expansion through its Excelsior Tax Credit Program.” 

For additional information about Top Seedz, visit https://topseedz.com

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

Pamm Lent | [email protected] | (716) 846-8309 | (716) 560-8815
Laura Magee | [email protected] | (716) 846-8239 | (716) 374-4246