Stella DoroJuly 30th, 2012 by Bad Guy Joe
The Stella Doro cookie factory was a longstanding source of good paying jobs in The Bronx - that is, until a private equity company got involved.
The Stella Doro bakery started in and was a privately held company until 1992, at which time the owners sold to Nabisco. Nabisco soon became a part of Kraft Foods.
Kraft sold the Stella D brand to a private equity company called Brynwood Partners. Before this happened, Kraft managed to alienate their Jewish customer base by removing the pareve designation (A select group of Kosher foods).
Private equity companies are the devil, so it's not surprising that the company went straight to hell. They refused to negotiate a fair contract with their workers - who went out on strike. After 11 months of striking, courts ruled in the workers favor and ordered Brynwood to give back pay. Brynwood took them back, and they immediately announced that the factory would close within weeks.
The NY Times basically repeated Brynwood Partners press release word for word without verifying facts. The article they published stated that workers had and were demanding 9 weeks vacation. This 'large' amount of vacation time was designed to make the workers look greedy - a strategy that worked when you read the comments in the Times article. The reality though was that most workers only received 3-4 weeks vacation. The Times has yet to correct this fact, of course. So much for journalism these days.
That the family grew this business to employ 575 people, and that the corporations and private equity ran the business into the ground (134 employees at the end - with the company in debt. It posted sales of $65 Million before it was sold to Nabisco), shows what happens when the suits get involved. Decent paying jobs are lost. The area politicians and Mayor Money Bloombag refused to get involved. None of these politicians care about keeping working class jobs in the Bronx.
A year or two back, I only got to make one recon run to this location. At that time, it seemed like entry would be really easy via a rear window - though we'd need a ladder to get someone inside via a second floor window, and maybe let others in via any door since that would be way more discrete. It was a slightly brazen plan given that this building is located a mere block from an NYPD station house, but that hasn't stopped us before. This plan sat on the shelf a few months while significantly cooler, more pressing locations were hit up. By time time I got back around to doing a renewed recon of this location, it was clear this building was not long for this world.
Driving by on the highway, you could see all the windows had been removed. I parked around the block and walked around to the rear of the building - everything was wide open. Doors, windows, everything. The old loading dock was already bulldozed. i wasn't planning on going in, but circumstances had clearly changed. This place might not last another week.
Inside, the rear of the building contained offices. Those offices were already molding over. Water damage was rather extensive for a building that had only been abandoned for 3 years.
Most of the place was cleared out, but there was plenty of lootables. Old computer gear mostly. Low retail value, high 'throw it out the window and smash it' value.
The production and packing floors were basically clear - all old factory equipment already removed. Water poured through the building, with large puddles everywhere.
I had really hoped for more out of this place in terms of adventure, but there wasn't a whole lot to see, and I had parked at a metered spot. Thus my visit was short, yet still satisfying - for I had gotten in and gotten over once again - in broad daylight. When you can't stop, you won't stop. That's what exploring is. It's getting in. No matter when where or what surrounds the area.