Newark: A Maker’s Row City Series (behind the scenes)

At Maker’s Row, we would like to create more of a community, and in light of these efforts, we began creating dedicated city profiles, called Maker’s Row City Series!

The aim is to illustrate the unique character of each city’s economy and culture, and highlight how manufacturing contributes to the local community, economy, and city.

We have launched our cities project in Newark, New Jersey!!! We began visiting factories and community members last month. We had a great time learning about the city and all that it had to offer. We noticed 3 main reasons why it’s a great place to manufacture goods:

  1. transportation: Newark has an airport, seaport, and train. This makes it a great place to export and import raw materials. Also, it makes it super accessible to the NY tri state area. Matthew and I took the path train + light rail to Newark from Brooklyn and got there in an hour!
  2. skilled labor: There are universities like NJIT and Rutgers with specialized programs for manufacturing. Also because of it’s manufacturing history, the city has existing skilled workers.
  3. geographic location / space: The real estate in Newark is still affordable, allowing factories to have larger facilities, while being accessible to the New York and New Jersey area.

In addition to the below factories for welcoming us, we would like to give a special thanks to: Cory Booker and his team, the Brookings Institution, Brick City Development Corp, Newark Business Partnership, our videographer Gerald Wenner, our video editor Cameron Clendaniel, and our photographer Elvira Kalviste for making this possible! The selfless contribution of time and effort of these individuals inspired us every single day.

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Click the image below to play the video:

Other fun facts we learned:

  • In 2011 the U.S. manufacturing sector generated 1.34 trillion dollars in value

  • In Newark, today there are over 400 manufacturers and they employ 10k workers

  • Newark used to be global head of manufacturing of M&M’s

  • For every dollar generated in manufacturing, $1.34 is created in value for the US, compared to $0.55 in retail.

Here’s some behind the scenes details on our trip:

We stumbled upon Je’s Restaurant, which has an awesome local vibe. I had the BBQ chicken breast with sweet potato and greens. YUM!


Unionwear: A contractor that makes hats, handbags, totes and more. You can hear from Mitch himself, but one thing we didn’t mention in the video is that the team at Unionwear (including the owner!) practice yoga during their break once a day. SO cool!

Check out the Vine I made:

Serratelli Hat Factory: Did you know cowboy hats were made in Newark? The team at Serratelli make cowboy hats for their own brand, but also do private label for larger brands. They have high minimums if you want to create your own custom cowboy hats, but you should check out their brand!

Citilog: They take urban trees and logs (normally considered waste) and upcycle them into finished wood products (i.e. furniture, flooring, siding, cabinetry, millwork, etc.) Upcycling with CitiLog can help in earning LEED points. Also, they are completely off the grid! It was amazing to see a facility like this in the city of Newark.

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Check out our Newark page:

Also, the Brookings Institution published a report on Newark Manufacturing, with more detailed research findings here: If you would like to sponsor a city page click here: