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Storm-Ravaged Madelaine Chocolate Company Invests More Than $10 Million To Reopen Factory In Rockaway, New York

Area Development Online News Desk (10/23/2013)
The Madelaine Chocolate Company, a manufacturer of foiled seasonal and everyday chocolates, reopened its 200,000-square-foot factory in the Rockaways, New York, after suffering devastating losses in the wake of Superstorm Sandy nearly one year ago. The company rehired 120 employees and has four of its 14 production lines back up and running.

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.

“Many local businesses like The Madelaine Chocolate Company suffered terrible losses in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy,” Gov. Andrew 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.”

“We are delighted to be sharing this special moment with all those who’ve stood by The Madelaine Chocolate Company since the very beginning of this difficult journey,” Jorge Farber, CEO of The Madelaine Chocolate Company said. “Today is a testament to the unwavering support we’ve received from our dedicated staff and community. We are so very proud of them and are thrilled to be back.”

The Governor’s Office said 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 provided $6.9 million in Jobs Retention tax credits for the retention of 317 jobs. 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.

“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 and 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. Today’s 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.”

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