Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that The Madelaine Chocolate Company, a privately-held manufacturer of foiled seasonal and everyday chocolates, officially reopened its 200,000-square-foot factory in the Rockaways after suffering devastating losses in the wake of Superstorm Sandy nearly one year ago. The company estimates total losses in excess of $50 million to its facilities, infrastructure and equipment caused by storm surge, forcing it to close its doors. Madelaine, which employed more than 315 full-time employees before the storm, has since spent more than $10 million in clean-up and repairs that were necessary before any production could resume. The company has rehired 120 employees and has four of their 14 production lines back up and running.
Many local businesses like The Madelaine Chocolate Company suffered terrible losses in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Cuomo said. Madelaine, a hugely successful company that employed hundreds of New Yorkers and had nearly $40 million in sales, was forced to shutter its operations in the Rockaways after the storm. But today, nearly one year later, Madelaine and others are celebrating new beginnings as they continue on the road to recovery. New York State is proud to assist Madelaine, and I congratulate them on reopening their doors to employees and customers. The companys resilience through the storm demonstrates what we can accomplish and overcome when we work together in support of our communities.
The reopening announcement was made this morning by Jorge Farber, CEO of The Madelaine Chocolate Company. The grand reopening gathered employees and an array of Madelaine clients, vendors, bankers and elected officials.
We are delighted to be sharing this special moment with all those whove stood by The Madelaine Chocolate Company since the very beginning of this difficult journey, said Farber. Today is a testament to the unwavering support weve received from our dedicated staff and community. We are so very proud of them and are thrilled to be back.
Madelaine, which is the largest employer in the Rockaways, is continuing to rebuild and is on the road to recovery. At its peak, Madelaine was producing 20 million pounds of its chocolates annually. The company hopes to return to full capacity and rehire all of its workers within the next 12 months. In support of this restoration project, Empire State Development is providing $6.9 million in Jobs Retention tax credits for the retention of 317 jobs.
The reopening of The Madelaine Chocolate Company, just one year after being devastated by Superstorm Sandy, is a testament to the strength and resilience of this family-owned company and its dedication to their New York roots, said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. Since the moment the storm ended, we have been meeting with impacted businesses to find ways we can help them recover and with our assistance, Madelaine will soon be back to employing more than 315 employees. Todays announcement is great news for the Rockaways, the Madelaine family and their employees, and the millions of people around the globe who enjoy their delicious products.
The Madelaine recovery project has also been designated as a 2013 priority project by the New York City Regional Economic Development Council and aligns with the Strategic Plan by supporting small businesses and supporting strategic industries, such as manufacturing.
Congressman Gregory W. Meeks said, As Rockaway rebuilds it is critical that small businesses resume operation, create jobs, and restore community sustainability. I am pleased to have supported one of the Rockaways largest employers, The Madelaine Chocolate Company in their efforts to sustain a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan along with other financial incentives. I applaud Governor Cuomo for granting Madelaine Chocolates $6.7 million in tax credits and his continued support to make sure that New York State is an active partner in rebuilding the Rockaways.
Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. said, I join my Rockaway constituents in being delighted to see the Madelaine Chocolates plant producing thousands of pounds of foiled chocolates again, in time for the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season. The timing to reopen and rehire almost half its original workforce by October was critical for Madelaine and the community. Thanks to the National Grid grant, the advocacy of the elected officials, the governor's office and the Empire State Development funds, Rockaway's largest employer is finally back producing some of the world's finest chocolates.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder said, The Madelaine Chocolate Company is not only a community gem, but has been one of the largest employers and supporters of our community for decades. Like dozens of other family businesses, the Madelaine Chocolate Company struggled to recover from the devastation caused by Sandy. I want to thank Governor Cuomo and Congressman Meeks for assisting Madelaine Chocolate on their road to recovery. This reopening sends a strong message to our community that we will continue to rebuild and come back stronger and more resilient than ever.
About The Madelaine Chocolate Company
Established in 1949 by Holocaust survivors and brothers-in-law Henry Kaye and Jack Gold, The Madelaine Chocolate Company is a third-generation, family-owned and operated business. Located in Rockaway Beach, Madelaine has been part of American lifeand traditionfor nearly 65 years. Madelaine chocolate can be found worldwide, with product now available in the Middle East, Europe and Asia.