Over 120 employees of RealEats, a Geneva-based company that prepares and ships meals using locally-sourced Finger Lakes ingredients, were abruptly left jobless earlier this month when the company suddenly closed its doors.
The closure also left several local small businesses that supplied products to RealEats in a difficult financial situation.
RealEats had received tax incentives, grants, and loans from state and local leaders for expansion in 2021, making the closure even more of a shock. One of the businesses affected is Craft Cannery, a Bergen-based company that manufactures different brands of sauces, dressings, and marinades.
“We’ve been producing products for RealEats probably for about a year now, we produced 5 or 6 different sauces that they use to make their meals,” Craft Cannery co-owner Tom Riggio told News10NBC this week. “We were getting paid no problem, up until the day before they closed, we were getting purchase orders for more products.”
Despite getting paid without issues for over a year, RealEats ordered three months’ worth of products from Craft Cannery just one day before shutting down without notice. “Forget about the business side of it, but if you know something is going on, you cannot be allowing your people to order products from vendors a day before and that’s what happened,” Riggio continued. “And now, we have finished product here that has never shipped out, we have raw materials that we purchased to do their products and they’ve also obviously gotten quite a bit of inventory that we’ve sent to them in the last 30 days that we’re not getting paid for.”
Craft Cannery is one of several local vendors who might not get paid for the products they provided to RealEats. The company informed its vendors that they won’t be paid because their primary lenders will receive their money first. The closure also prompted lawsuits from the former employees of RealEats and a group of Indiana investors who claimed that they were misled about the company’s financial situation.
A $9 million investment from the New York State Retirement Fund and a separate $1 million investment made by the state using taxpayer dollars were lost. Economic development leaders in Ontario County are hoping to recover approximately $500,000 left on two separate loans that they extended to RealEats in 2019.
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