Business may never return to pre-Sandy levels

after hurricane sandy madeline
  • Name: Madelaine Chocolate Company
  • Location: Rockaway Beach, New York

Before Sandy, Madelaine Chocolate employed 450 people and shipped as much as 20 million pounds of chocolate a year around the world. But then the storm 's surge hit the company's 200,000 square-foot manufacturing facility, which is located across the street from Jamaica Bay, and devastated its inventory and equipment.

CEO Jorge Farber said the warehouse was "almost overflowing" with product ready to be shipped for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine's Day when Sandy hit.

"A good 80% of our revenue that we counted on for that year never materialized," he said.

Farber estimated damage at $50 million, which flood insurance and a National Grid (NGG) grant barely covered. But with loans, his business is gradually moving forward.

Madelaine Chocolate started limited production at the end of June, and has been ramping up slowly, bringing more people back as machines become available.

Still, only half the space is functional and just 125 employees are back at the plant.

Farber isn't sure that the 65-year-old company will ever return to its former level of production.

"We've gone as far as we can go at this point to be functional," he said. "To increase that to pre-storm levels would be a long, expensive way to go."

First published October 27, 2013: 3:53 PM ET

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