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Sandy-Damaged Rockaways Chocolate Factory for Sale Months After Reopening

By Katie Honan | February 12, 2014 9:21am
 A man bringing chocolates to the foiling machine at a grand reopening celebration last October.
A man bringing chocolates to the foiling machine at a grand reopening celebration last October.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

ROCKAWAY BEACH — The sweet life might over for a beloved chocolate factory — the largest employer on the peninsula — that had briefly reopened after it was wrecked by Hurricane Sandy.

Madelaine Chocolate has put its Rockaway Beach factory up for sale for an undisclosed price, according to a listing from real estate firm CBRE, and it is not clear if the business will seek another location or close up shop.

The family-owned business has been in Rockaway Beach since 1967 and at one time employed 400 workers in its factory at 96-03 Beach Channel Drive.

But after the 2012 hurricane, the business suffered millions of dollars in damage affecting every piece of equipment, company CEO Jorge Faber said last year.

After the storm, which hit at their busiest production time, he estimated they lost $8 million in inventory alone. And the hiatus and repairs cost the company approximately $50 million in business, Faber said.

The company started making chocolate again last July, but the company still wasn't producing as much as it did before the storm.

In the listing, CBRE touts the water views and proximity to transportation, saying the four buildings take in more than 201,000 square feet and are suited for redevelopment for "multifamily, retail or mixed-use."

The lot, however, is zoned for commercial use only, according to city records.

Madelaine received help from government officials and private companies to bounce back after the storm — most recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $6 million in tax credits for the business.

It also received a small business loan and a $250,000 grant from National Grid.

At a reopening celebration last October, Faber said the company "will not rest until all of our employees are back working, helping us to produce products that our customers have grown to love just as much as we do."

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder said the company "received the assistance that so many small businesses are still waiting for."

"They made commitments to stay in Rockaway and I will do whatever I can to hold them to that," he said.

In a statement to the Daily News, Madelaine Chocolate owners said they could possibly move to another location in New York or elsewhere.

“The company confirmed that it has retained CBRE as real estate consultants and Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP as legal counsel to explore any and all options pertaining to the future operations of Madelaine Chocolate,” according to the statement.

The chocolate company did not immediately respond to a call for comment from DNAinfo New York.