Queens’ Elmhurst Dairy, the last operating dairy in New York City, has announced that it will be shutting down.
On Tuesday, the company said that it will close its doors permanently on Oct. 30, Pix11 reported. The decision will affect 273 employees at the company’s facility in Jamaica.
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"People, for whatever reason, are not consuming as much milk as they were 30 and 40 years ago," Elmhurst Dairy CEO Henry Schwartz said to NBC4, adding that products like soy milk and almond milk, which have longer shelf lives, have diminished the market for fresh milk.
Now, New York City will be without a functioning milk bottler for the first time in the city’s history, Pix11 added. There were more than 20 such operations as recently as 25 years ago.
"My family was dedicated to trying to keep the plant open long past the years that it was economically viable because it was the wishes of its founder, Max Schwartz, that future generations of the family continue the business," Henry Schwartz was quoted by QNS.com. "The family did so at a very high cost but is unable to continue to do so without ongoing losses."
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The company said it was pursuing ways to reuse its Jamaica factory site that would benefit the community economically, QNS.com reported, adding that the dairy, at its peak, catered to a market of 11 million people and turned out more than 5 million quarts of milk per week.
Operating at its Jamaica location for eight decades, Elmhurst was known for supplying the milk to New York City’s public schools, NBC4 added.