For six decades, residents of one New Jersey town have enjoyed the sweet smell of fresh baked cookies. But on Friday, that’s all about to end.
The Nabisco plant in Fair Lawn is closing, and worse than the delightful smell leaving their lives, the shuttering plant is also leaving hundreds of people out of a job. The massive site on Route 208 has been a part of the landscape for as long as some folks can remember.
There are currently only three like the plant left in the U.S., after having more than a dozen churning out Oreos and Chips Ahoy! cookies. Some have spent more than half their lives working at the facility.
Jimmy Figs started on the Fig Newton line 48 years ago, and pins the move on “corporate greed.”
“They have two or three plants down in Mexico, and that’s not good, that’s taking away a lot of our work. Don’t let them bullcrap you, the work’s going down there,” Figs said.
Understandably, he wasn’t the only one bitter about the decision.
“If you can pay people $3 or $4 an hour to do what we’re doing, why wouldn’t you?” said Cheryl Leahy.
While losing the familiar neighbor will be painful for the town, the land won’t sit dormant for long, said Fair Lawn’s mayor.
“We’ve already heard from developers who want that property. It’s 39.7 acres that we’re going to keep industrial, and heard from a number of developers who are interested in distribution centers,” Mayor Kurt Peluso said, adding that one has pitched adding a Wegman’s at the location, which was his favorite so far.
Whatever comes in will bring jobs along with it, and a number of area businesses have offered to help. But the workers say it will never be the same.
“Nothing lasts forever, you gotta make use of what we have, appreciate what we have, thank God and make the best of every day,” said Calvert Smith, who is set to retire after working at the plant for 30 years.
*Article courtesy of Philadelphia Business Journal
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