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NECCO’s abrupt closing leaves a sour taste in Revere

REVERE The city is smarting from the abrupt closure of the New England Confectionery Co. (Necco) manufacturing plant.

Round Hill Investments LLC said Tuesday they are selling the company’s brands to another manufacturer and shuttering its American Legion Highway plant.

The company purchased Necco for $17.3 million at a bankruptcy auction in May.

Round Hill did not identify Necco’s new owner or say if candy production will resume. The closure came as a shock to the 230 workers at the plant who say they were told to pick up their final paychecks Friday.

“We are disappointed Round Hill could not follow through on the enthusiasm it expressed when it acquired Necco barely two months ago,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo in a statement. “We received no advance word about the situation from any of the involved parties and only learned about it after receiving a media inquiry.  Obviously, we would have preferred, at the very least, some fundamental notification.”

Still, Arrigo said his office is working with prospective new employers who could hire the laid-off employees.

He said six food service companies have expressed interest in interviewing displaced workers.  

In addition, the Rapid Response team in Gov. Charlie Baker’s Workforce Development Board is setting up to help displaced workers, and Greater Lynn Senior Services is seeking as many as 60 drivers to serve their clients, the mayor said. Ward 4 Councilor Patrick Keefe, a culinary director with Legal Sea Foods, contacted the mayor to connect with the chain restaurant’s recruitment director.

“We also have heard from Kelly’s Roast Beef, Winfrey’s Chocolates in Rowley, Shaw’s Super Markets, and Five Way Foods, a producer of vegetable and bone broths that will be starting operation in Revere later this year, and Easy Pie, a popular and innovative pizza restaurant in Revere and Braintree,” Arrigo said.

Shaw’s is hiring at all locations, with its greatest need in Melrose, he said.

“We are gratified, certainly, that the private sector is in a position to help these workers,” the mayor added. “But that doesn’t lessen our exasperation with the way Round Hill went about the process.”

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

Atlantic has said it plans to find tenants that reflect the new economy.

The lease for the 830,000 square foot property, of which they use only a portion, expires in August but they were expected to continue operations until November 30.

Necco calls itself the country’s oldest continuously operating candy company. They are best known for Necco Wafers, Mary Janes and Valentine Sweethearts.

The following companies are seeking help for employment:

  • Legal Sea Foods, apply online at legalseafoods.com.
  • Kelly’s Roast Beef, contact Dan Doherty through [email protected]
  • Winfrey’s Chocolates:  contact Mark Winfrey by email [email protected]
  • Five Way Foods:  Visit their website at fivewayfoods.com.
  • Shaw’s:  Visit their website at shaws.com.
  • Greater Lynn Senior Services, contact Nina Mersereau, 781-715-2987.
  • Easy Pie, apply in person at Revere or Braintree locations.

 

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