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Necco will lay off 395 workers unless it can find a buyer

Necco asked a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Boston to approve a $13.3 million sale to Gordon Brothers, a Boston investment firm. (Owen O'Rourke/File photo)

REVERE — Necco’s days could be numbered.

The 171-year-old confectionary company, best known for Necco Wafers, Mary Janes, and Valentine Sweethearts, will lay off 395 employees and close its manufacturing plant if a buyer can’t be found by May 6, according to a letter from Necco to Mayor Brian Arrigo.

“It is disheartening to learn that hundreds of workers, some of which are Revere residents, will potentially lose their jobs,” Arrigo said in a text.

In a letter last week to the city, Necco, which calls itself the oldest continuously operating candy company in the U.S., said it has been in negotiations with potential buyers to allow for it to remain open.

But Necco CEO Michael McGee wrote since there’s no assurance a sale would be completed, workers will be laid off by May 6.

“We deeply regret and understand the uncertainty this action may cause our valued employees,” he wrote.

The story was first reported in The Boston Globe.

Last year, Framingham-based Atlantic Management Corp. and VMD Cos. of North Andover purchased the 55-acre Necco headquarters for $54.5 million.

At the time, Atlantic CEO Joseph Zink said the company’s vision for the property includes robotics, biotech and laboratory space, though he added there’s enough room to continue making sweets.

McGee did not return repeated calls seeking comment. Jeanne Corey, vice president of Human Resources for Necco, said she was not authorized to speak with reporters and referred the call to McGee.

The lease on the 830,000-square-foot plant on American Legion Highway expires in August.

Arrigo said Necco could be the victim of challenging times for the food and retail industries.

“I always thought it was unique to have the iconic candies made in our city,” he said. “But if they are forced to close, I will work with the landlord to ensure the location is a viable option for a business best suited to support Revere’s 21st century economy.”

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