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Sabra Dipping Co., a manufacturer of hummus and other Mediterranean-style vegetable dips and spreads, recently announced it will be relocating its administrative offices from Astoria to White Plains, N.Y., a move that disappointed local business groups.
“We’re sorry to see them go,” said Julie Wood, spokeswoman for the city Economic Development Corp.
Sabra has been a presence in Astoria for more than two decades. Originally known as Sabra Blue & White Foods, the Israeli manufacturing business Strauss Group bought a majority share of the company in 2005. Strauss later formed a partnership with PepsiCo in 1998, giving both companies joint-ownership of Sabra. Sabra makes many kosher and vegetarian dips and spreads, including hummus, baba ghanoush, eggplant dip and Mediterranean salsa.
Ilya Welfeld, spokeswoman for Sabra, said in an e-mail that they were moving because the company had outgrown its current location at 24-20 49th St. in Astoria. She said the company would be moving to White Plains over the next couple of months.
“Sabra ... expects to see continued fast-paced growth in the coming months and years,” Welfeld said.
Wood said Sabra announced it was leaving some time ago and that the EDC tried to convince it to stay after hearing the news.
“After we learned that they were leaving, they wanted to talk to them about incentives that could convince them to say, but they said that there weren’t any,” Wood said.
Welfeld denied incentives to stay in Queens were discussed.
Ronen Zohar, CEO of Sabra, said in a statement that Westchester County had offered a “competitive package” for the company to move there.
“The office park is set on what has been dubbed Westchester’s Platinum Mile and we believe it will be a wonderful location for our talented team and fast-growing company,” Zohar said.
Laurence Gottlieb, director of the Office of Economic Development for Westchester County, said the incentives offered to Sabra between the state and the county amount to $100,000. These included sales tax, abatements for capital investments, abatements for equipment purchases and direct grants based on Sabra creating more jobs. Many company headquarters — such as PepsiCo’s global base, Dannon Co.’s American Base and Kraft Foods’ beverage division — are located in Westchester.
“It has become a food company cluster here in the county,” Gottlieb said.
Sabra also moved its manufacturing operations from Astoria to Richmond, Va., earlier this year. State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said this earlier move cost the area a couple hundred jobs and the new move will cost the area 33 jobs.
“It highlights the fact that we need to be more business-friendly as we try to get our economic wind back,” Gianaris said. “The cost of doing business in New York City is way too high for many of these companies.”
Carol Conslato, president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber hates to see the business leave but did not believe this was a reflection on the neighborhood.
“Astoria is certainly a growing area in terms of residential development and if you read any papers you’ll see it’s really becoming a hopping place,” Conslato said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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