Photos: A behind the scenes look at renovated Madelaine Chocolate Company
In the company’s showroom, some of the products it makes under contract and under its own Madelaine label.
The origins of why the company was named Madelaine are lost, it seems. “We think they picked because it sounded European,” says one company official.
The company, started in the late 1940s, has always been one of the biggest private employers in the Rockaways. It has rehired about 250 workers back, more than half the pre-storm staff.
The chocolate factory received $20 milliion in aid and loans from the city, state and the federal Small Business Administration to get back on its feet.
The Madelaine factory on Beach Channel Street lost nearly every piece of equipment and all its stock — $50 milllion in all — five years ago during Hurricane Sandy. This week, it opened it offered a behind-the-scenes look to tell the story of its comeback.
Jorge Farber, the president of Madelaine, with a blow-up picture of the devastation Sandy left behind. “Over 60 years in business, 425 employees, 20 million pounds of chocolate and it took four hours to destroy it all,” he said.
The origin behind the naming of the Madelaine Chocolate Company has been lost in time. The family who started the company in Rockaway Beach after World War II didn’t have a Madelaine in the fold. It may have been a once-popular movie actress or just something French that kind sounded classy.
But the name has taken on a new meaning. The company has shown incredible resiliency after Hurricane Sandy, when the storm virtually wiped out the factory that covered two full blocks at the foot of the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge and had employed more than 400 people and produced million of pounds of chocolate for more than 60 years.
With the help of loans and grants from the city, state and the federal Small Business Administration, the plant is back up and running at near capacity. It took nearly six years and $20 million, but Madelaine is back.
Officials opened its kitchen doors to the press this week to show off the rebuilt facility. Here’s a behind the scenes look at the historic factory.
Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018