Joe Rigoroso said he was tired of his spinach going bad. He was tired of constantly having to go to Wegmans for fresh greens, tired of the quality of produce given, tired of not knowing the origin of his greens or what types of pesticides were used on them.
What originally started as a hobby with his suitemate to produce solutions to these problems has become a business catering to students, community members and local restaurants.
Rigoroso, a senior majoring in business administration, is the creator and co-founder of the startup Infiniti Greens, alongside suitemate Ray Gochuico, a senior majoring in biology.
With a company motto to “never stop growing,” Infiniti Greens aims to provide the Binghamton community with fresh, locally grown microgreens all year long.
“We wanted to always have a source of fresh greens, even throughout the winter and when the growing season is done,” Rigoroso said. “We never stop growing and we always have them.”
Microgreens, according to Rigoroso, are essentially baby versions of plants with just one or two sets of leaves. Despite their size, they’re nutritionally dense, making them ideal additions to people’s food.
“[Microgreens] add that extra flair and color and flavor,” Rigoroso said. “They are great as a stand-alone salad, but you can also add them to your existing salad or sandwich. Their use is only limited to your imagination.”
The feedback to this variety in use and the promotion of healthy living, sustainability and local food, Rigoroso said, has been supportive.
“[The reaction] has been overwhelmingly positive,” Rigoroso said. “People are pretty happy that there are more local greens being produced and that a student is staying in Binghamton with their business.”
With clientele ranging from health-conscious students buying the greens from the fridge at the Food Co-op to locals adding greens to their meals to restaurants like The Colonial, Citrea Restaurant and Bar and Remlik’s Grille & Oyster Bar, Infiniti Greens is working to make its presence known in the local food scene.
Infiniti Greens was started last January, obtained an LLC in April and was accepted into the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator this past summer.
Tony Frontera, an entrepreneur-in-residence with the Southern Tier Startup Alliance and a lecturer of entrepreneurship, business and marketing in the School of Management, said he believes Infiniti Greens’ quick takeoff is due, in part, to the entrepreneurship class Rigoroso took last semester.
According to Frontera, the entrepreneurship class helps students identify how to develop their ideas into business models and plans. Frontera said this class allowed Rigoroso to develop his Infiniti Greens idea.
“You don’t have to be a business major to start a company,” Frontera said.
According to Rigoroso, the entrepreneurship class was crucial to his startup’s development.
“The class would take us through the process of forming a team and developing a business plan,” Rigoroso said. “The students with the best ideas led teams to develop their business plans, and the top five teams competed at the end of the class for a $5,000 prize funding their business venture. We won the business plan competition and obtained our prize money over the summer.”
But even after the class ended, Frontera continued to help Rigoroso and Gochuico further develop Infiniti Greens.
“Mentor services are free for Incubator members,” Frontera said. “[Entrepreneurs-in-residence] are a resource for mentoring and advising startups; we guide them through the process of searching for a business model and connect them with our network of resources.”
Rigoroso and Gochuico said they are trying to keep their prices low by selling their 2.5-ounce clamshell boxes of microgreens for just $3.
“Our goal wasn’t ever to make a whole bunch of money off it,” Rigoroso said. “Our main goal is to make microgreens as affordable as possible so that everyone can enjoy them.”
In the future, Rigoroso and Gochuico said they want to expand their business even further.
“Long-term, we’re looking to either build or find a used greenhouse in Binghamton and kind of just keep growing our microgreens in there,” Rigoroso said. “Who knows, one day maybe we’ll franchise and create Infiniti Greens all over the country.”