Online firm sets up shop in city will bring support staff to Cannonball Factory

HUDSON — Recent buzz about a new business moving to a 19th century brick building on lower Columbia Street called the Cannonball Factory located was confirmed this week. Eric Fixler, a spokesman for, an online marketer of crafts and artisanal products said that work has begun at the Cannonball factory to prepare it for the company’s needs. has leased the building from Chris Gilbert.

The company, founded in 2005, describes itself on its website as “the world’s most vibrant handmade marketplace… [whose] mission is to enable people all over the world to make a living making things.” The site says the company’s “community” includes over 6.9 million members in over 150 countries. “Our sellers collectively list 2 million new items, sell more than $20 million of goods, and generate over 900 million page views each month,” according to the site.

The home office of Etsy is in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, where it employs 175. plans to open its Hudson office in February or March and will hire local personnel for customer support positions. Mr. Gilbert, the owner of the property, is currently busy installing heat in the building using local contractors and taking other steps to make it ready for the company.

Mr. Fixler said he will oversee the installation of other essential infrastructure, like the company’s internet connection. He declined to say exactly how many employees will hire, but an e-mail circulated to the Hudson business community by company founder Rob Kalin said he hopes “to grow our Hudson office to 50.”

In addition to showing the products it sells, the website also offers profiles and videos of featured artists and sellers. “We work with craft artists and artisans from all over the Hudson Valley. We want to be there near those people who like, use and work with ETSY,” said Mr. Fixler, who lives in Rhincliff.

The email about Etsy that members of the Hudson business community received this week was from the founder and CEO of the company, Rob Kalin, who has a home in Catskill. He said he started the company in his apartment six years ago to create opportunities for people and said he loves being able to bring jobs to Hudson, where he has found an the historic building and where he knows there are many people. Mr. Kalin grew up in New York and enjoys hiking in the Catskills.

“Right now we’re working to get things set up,” he wrote in the email. “Our plan is to start with customer support positions and grow from there.”

In the email, his most public statement to date, Mr. Kalin said he plans to grow at a measured pace.

The publication Crain’s New York Business reported in an article published last August that Etsy had raised $52 million in venture funding. At the time the company had just hired Adam Freed, a former Google executive, as the chief executive officer.

The Crain’s article said Etsy can handle sales in 23 different currencies and earns revenue amounting to between $30 and $50 million a year. The publication named Mr. Kalin a Crain’s Top Entrepreneur in 2009.

“It’s very exciting, jobs, a high technology business,” said Hudson Common Council President Don Moore. “It’s more than a gift; it’s a great confirmation of the fact that Hudson has an identity that people regard as very positive for business. It’s such good news.”

“We’re really excited about coming to Hudson. We intend to be there for a long time,” said Mr. Fixler.

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