A local business touted as a major success by local leaders has shut down. RealEats, which occupied the former Tops Friendly Markets facility along 5&20 in the town of Geneva shut its doors unexpectedly on Wednesday.
The company was a meal prep service founded in 2017 and around employed 160 people as of late-2022.
Customers expressed confusion over the closure, as RealEats appeared to be operating normally one day before the announced closure.
The following memo to staff was obtained by FingerLakes1.com. It was dated March 1st, 2023:
“After much deliberation, RealEats has faced the difficult decision of immediately closing the business.
All hourly employees are terminated immediately, effective March 1, 2023. You will be paid for hours worked between February 19, 2023, to February 25, 2023, on Friday, March 3, 2023. Your last paycheck will be paid to you on Friday, March 3rd, for hours worked from February 26 through March 01, 2023.
If you are enrolled in any health benefits your benefits will remain effective through the end of March 31, 2023. Cobra notices will be sent to you in March by TriNet for dental and vision (if you have selected). Since the business is ceasing operations, there wil be no COBRA for health care. You are eligible to apply on www.healthcare.gov. For questions regarding your benefits, excluding health care, call 800.638.041.”
The memo goes on to thank employees for their service, and is signed by CEO Dan Wise.
RealEats received significant financial boost from state in 2022
In June 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul was at the new location along 5&20 after a renovation, celebrating RealEats’ success as it moved into that newly-renovated space.
“New York state is globally known for having some of the best food products in the world, and the agricultural industry is an important part of our statewide economy,” Governor Hochul said at the time. “By continuing to build on our investments in successful companies like RealEats, we are bolstering startups that are focused on the future of the agribusiness industry. We are committed to fostering these innovative ideas, boosting job growth, and to further strengthening the regional and statewide economies.”
That investment included a $500,000 grant, and a $2.45 million investment by Excell Partners, which manages the FLXFWD Venture Fund, supported by the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. That announcement from the Governor’s office also indicated that up to $3 million was being provided through a performance-based Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit Program in exchange for promised job commitments. RealEats also won the first round of the Grow-NY program, which netted $1 million.
Additionally, through its In-State Private Equity Investment Program, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has invested $7.8 million in RealEats in five separate investments through its partners, Armory Square Ventures and Hamilton Lane.
Josh is the president and publisher of FingerLakes1.com. Have a question? Send them to [email protected].