The Otis Spunkmeyer bakery facility at 1000 Universal Drive in North Haven is now officially closed. An estimated 150 to 200 people were employed there.
“Yes, the bakery in North Haven has been closed. This in an unfortunate event, due to age of the building and the equipment,”said Barry Edwards, a vice president of planning and corporate responsibility at Aryzta Fresh Start Bakeries, from his office in Brea, Calif.
Aryzta announced the closure of the plant that reportedly employed between 150 and 200 people, on July 23. Yet, a guard who identified himself as Angel from U.S. Security Associates in Middletown said on site Wednesday that the plant had been shut down for three weeks.
“It’s sad. Any time a company closes it’s a sad thing for the town because people are losing their jobs,” said state “What we can hope for is a company that comes in and eventually opens in that facility.”
“It’s a killer,” he continued. “It’s never good. You pick up 200 jobs. You lose 100 jobs,” he said, thinking back to the two weeks ago at the former State Street site of the printing giant Quebecor/Northeast Graphics USA. There, the 17.7 acre site will now house the new venture The company is expected to create more than 400 jobs within the next four years.
That and the arrival of, according to First Seletman Michael Freda, a projected 300 jobs at the urgent care facility on Devine Street were viewed as strong surges in the local economy.
“There’ll be more ongoing efforts from the town and the state,” said Yaccarino of the quest now to find a different company to fill the Universal Drive site. “I have total faith in the elected representatives.”
Edwards, the Aryzta executive, did not respond when asked if the employees at the Spunkmeyer plant would receive job offers in the company elsewhere. Still, an employee at the Otis Spunkmeyer corporate headquarters outside Oakland, Calif., said she understood the North Haven operations would transfer to a Spunkmeyer plant in Hazle Township, Pa. A person at that plant, which has operated for more than a year, declined to either comment or give his name.
In the past 12 months, the North Haven structure, which was built in 1961 and sits on more than seven acres, has seen ownership change hands. Before its merger with Otis Spunkmeyer last year, had owned the property since 2001.
“It’s definitely strange. They have gates up. You can’t walk on the property,” said Brittany Edwards of at 900 Universal Drive, a company whose property abuts the now-vacant plant. She remarked that delivery trucks used to go in and out of the bakery property all the time.
Otis Spunkmeyer produces frozen cookie dough and muffins, according to its website.