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Cheribundi was faced with tough choice: Leave Geneva or risk killing business

It was an announcement that surprised a lot of economic development professionals in the Finger Lakes. But for Cheribundi – the announcement to leave Geneva, and New York State, was anything but a surprise move.

Mike Hagan, who serves as CEO of Cheribundi, which announced last week that they would be shutting down its Geneva operation – told the Finger Lakes Times this week that it was ‘move’ or die.

“We were trying to build it up to sell it,” he said. “The more we grew our revenues, the more losses we incurred.”

Geneva Town Supervisor Mark Venuti said Cheribundi’s decision was “unfortunate and disappointing.” He noted that some of the folks who work there will have a difficult time finding new work with similar pay and benefits.

Mike Manikowski, who serves as Ontario County’s Director of Economic Development met with Hagen. He voiced his disappointment, but noted that it was ‘totally a business decision’ in an update to the FLT.

Hagen shed some light on the process that led Cheribundi to the options of relocating – or dying.

“The company had grown to a scale that we really had to take a hard look at our supply-chain costs,” said Hagan. “If you’re going to be a national company, your supply-chain costs can dictate whether your business enterprise can survive.”

Michigan has the largest tart cherry production. It was a move that simply made sense.

“With the combination of the fruit and the cost of processing, it was a decision that while difficult, had to be made,” he told the FLT. “We’d been thinking about this for a couple of years. We’d been losing money, and the shareholders (private owners) had been patient long enough.”