A Long Island City bakery with 100 years of history has shut its doors due to financial difficulties, eliminating more than 300 jobs in the borough.
Fink Baking Corporation, a wholesale baking company at 5-35 53rd Ave., stopped operating last month when it was unable to emerge from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
They had been having difficulties for several months, financial challenges, said Gayle Baron, the executive director of the Long Island City Business Development Corporation. They didnt do this without really trying very hard to stay in business. When this was no longer feasible for them to be able to do, thats when they shut their doors.
The century-old bakery was operated by the Fink family until December 2000 when it was sold to the New York Baking Company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors in June. The case was converted to a Chapter 7 case Aug. 15, forcing the bakery to close down and liquidate its assets.
Baron said about 300 jobs were lost in the closure, a number she considers to be fairly substantive, because the average business in Long Island City is 50 employees or less.
Were very sorry that this venerable company has closed, said Dan Andrews, the spokesman for Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. The borough president has directed the city Department of Employment through its one-stop offices to work closely with the more than 300 displaced workers.
The closure is only the latest in a historic line of baking companies to have closed down in Long Island City, the most prominent of which was Silvercup Bread. That building has since been converted into a high-profile movie and television studio of the same name.
The Long Island City business group expects a new company will fill the void left by the bakerys closure.
What will happen is in essence another company ... will eventually end up in that space, Baron said. Its a very solid building.
But it may be some time before the building is ready to take on a new tenant. Neil Siegel, the attorney representing the Fink family, which still owns the property, said the facility cannot effectively be marketed to tenants until the massive bakery equipment is removed.
The company apparently suffered after Sept. 11 because some of its large clients were Lower Manhattan restaurants crippled by the terrorist attacks, Siegel said.
The president of New York Baking said at a bankruptcy hearing that Con Edison had threatened to cut off the companys gas services due to non-payment, while its insurance carrier was planning to terminate coverage, Siegel said.
The closure does not appear to be tied to the recent rezoning of 37 blocks in Long Island City to encourage mixed use development and the creation of a new central business district, a move some had feared would ultimately drive away manufacturers.
The trade name, customer list and 30 vehicles were scheduled to be sold Thursday before Judge Conrad Duberstein in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Brooklyn, said Alan Nisselson, the trustee for New York Baking. The remaining machinery, equipment and vehicles will be liquidated at an auction Sept. 26.
Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2002 Community News Group
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