NECCO Employees May Face Layoffs

If NECCO doesn’t find a buyer, then upwards of 400 employees could face layoffs. There are roughly 40 employees of these who reside in Revere.

Last week NECCO’s CEO Mark McGee notified Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo that without a buyer by May 6 for the 171-year-old confectionary company, he would have to layoff employees.

NECCO, the New England Confectionary Co., moved into a building at 135 American Legion Highway in 2003 after being a Cambridge landmark for years. Last year Atlantic Management Corp. purchased the 810,000 square foot building and the 55-acre site for $54.5 million. Atlantic Management Corp. owns and manages more than 5 million square feet of commercial properties in New England.

““The City has been notified by NECCO about the current state of their business, and it is unfortunate that they are facing difficult decisions. I always thought it was unique to have the iconic candies made in our City, and it is disheartening to learn that hundreds of workers—some of whom are Revere residents —are going to potentially lose their jobs,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo.

The warehouse was originally built in 1982, and has 31-foot high ceilings and 25 docking areas.

The City of Revere did give NECCO a tax increment financing deal. This saves the company about $300,000 in the annual tax bill of an estimated $750,000. Over the years, NECCO had some rough patches keeping its payables current.  Last year, the company was able to pay back taxes, and overdue water and sewer charges.

The makers of NECCO wafers, candy conversation hearts, Clark Bars, and a dozen other candy products, reported steady revenues in 2005 of $100 million. In 2010 NECCO was listed for sale with a New York broker, but then the listing was pulled in 2011.

“I think their situation is indicative of what’s happening within the food and retail industries due to changing consumer behaviors. And, while I would like to see NECCO continue to thrive in Revere, apparently they have been utilizing only a small portion of the building for many months,” Arrigo said.

“It is my job as Mayor to prepare for all scenarios.  As has been widely reported, the City has worked successfully with the property owner, Atlantic Management, to rezone the site for advanced manufacturing, robotics and e-commerce.  Hopefully, those uses will include NECCO;  but if they do close their doors, we will still have a viable option for businesses suited to support Revere’s 21st-Century economy. And of course we will work with state and regional agencies to assist any displaced workers find new employment opportunities.”

The workers are represented by the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco workers and Grain Millers union Local 348. Attempts to reach the union were unsuccessful.

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