Madelaine Chocolate Company, Shuttered By Sandy, Plans To Reopen As Soon As It Can
The Madelaine Chocolate Company in the Rockaways had to close shop after Sandy, but the sweet treat facility said it plans to come back as soon as it possibly can. NY1's Roger Clark has the story.
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Usually during their busiest time of year the Madelaine Chocolate Company is bustling, making tasty treats for worldwide distribution.
But now the 200,000 square foot facility is silent thanks to Hurricane Sandy.
"Twenty-four hours before we are pumping 100,000 pounds of chocolate a day, shipping continuously throughout the country and we come to a sudden stop," said President and CEO of the Madelaine Chocolate Company, Jorge Farber.
The production facility was inundated with water. Machinery was flooded chocolates that were already made and ready to ship were destroyed.
Now Farber is working to get things running again while also dealing with damage at his home in nearby Belle Harbor.
Madelaine is the Rockaways' largest employer with 450 employees, all of which are now out of a job.
After finally getting power back nearly a month after the storm, the clean up has begun.
"We are a food manufacturer so there are certain standards, certifications that we have to achieve before we can resume production," Farber said.
Madelaine has been in business for more than 60 years, 45 of them in the Rockaways.
It's a family run business, making the losses more heartbreaking for staff like Estee Farber, whose grandfather and great uncle started the company in 1949 after surviving the Holocaust.
"I grew up here, I used to do homework here after school and visit my grandfather and my parents," Estee Farber, who is the director of marketing at Madelaine, said. "You know, we are all a family. Not just the family members."
"We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it can be done," said Sam Farber, vice president of production at Madelaine.
The family has vowed to get the facility running again and to continue a tradition that spans three generations.
"The only reason I can get out of bed in the morning to come down here and to work on all of the things I've got to work on is to know that we are coming back," Madelaine's Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Scott Wright said.
There is no timetable set as of yet for when the facility will be able to reopen.
"Being New Yorkers, we feel that resilience to be here and stay here," Jorge Farber said.