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Garden City tortellini maker adds sixth building for more production, distribution

Production line workers at Seviroli Foods processing factory

Production line workers at Seviroli Foods processing factory in Garden City, seen here in 2017. Seviroli plans to expand into rented space in Hauppauge. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Garden City-based pasta manufacturer that bills itself as the world’s largest maker of frozen tortellini is getting even bigger.

Seviroli Foods Inc. and an affiliate, Vertullo Imports, plan to expand into 98,200 square feet of rented space at 60 Davids Dr. in Hauppauge, said Paul Vertullo, chief operating officer.

The family-owned companies, with operations at five sites in Garden City, expect to use the new space for manufacturing, distribution and administrative operations, he said.

With restaurant and food service sales down because of the coronavirus pandemic, the companies are focused on supplying supermarkets and other retailers with frozen tortellini, ravioli, cannelloni and other pastas, sauces, meal kits and imported foods.

"Our food service business was dramatically, negatively affected by COVID," Vertullo said. "What that has caused us to do is make an investment in other channels of business: [membership-only warehouse] buying clubs and retail. We’ve had to shift a little bit because the uncertainty of COVID is still there. We’re trying to keep our people employed," he said.

The owner of the Hauppauge building, BCV Realty LLC of Huntington, is seeking $1 million in tax breaks from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency for $7.7 million in upgrades for Seviroli. The work will include converting a giant refrigerator into a freezer, installing a new roof and connecting to a nearby sewage treatment plant.

BCV managing partner Chris Valsamos said the firm's lease with Seviroli is "contingent on IDA help."

The IDA board gave preliminary approval to the 10-year tax deal last month and a virtual public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. Final approval could be granted at Thursday's board meeting.

BCV will pass on some of the savings to Seviroli, IDA officials said.

Seviroli expects to add jobs, though the exact number isn't known yet, Vertullo said. The company's workforce totaled 240 last year, with salaries ranging from $201,000 for top executives to $26,420 for production workers, according to state records.

An earlier expansion in Garden City received tax breaks from the Nassau County IDA, along with state aid.

Vertullo said 60-year-old Seviroli plans to expand another affiliate, D’Orazio Foods Inc. in New Jersey, but remains committed to Long Island.

"We are very, very much invested in Long Island," he said. "We live here. Our families live here. Our children live here. And we will continue to expand here."

The Hauppauge building was home to Castella Imports Inc. until it closed in May. The company sold spices, olives and imported canned goods to restaurants, other food service businesses and grocery stores.

Castella employed about 240 people locally last year, with salaries ranging from $26,000 to $75,000, state records show. Castella was forced to liquidate after losing its biggest customer, Restaurant Depot, in 2018, said Valsamos, who ran the business with his father.

Suffolk IDA executive director Anthony J. Catapano said having another food manufacturer use the Hauppauge building "helps to build the food industry, which is an important part of Long Island’s economy."

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Seviroli Foods Inc.

What it does: Makes frozen tortellini, ravioli and other pastas, sauces, meal kits

LI operations: 5 buildings in Garden City, including HQ; adding a building in Hauppauge

LI employees: 240

Affiliates: Vertullo Imports in Garden City, D'Orazio Foods in New Jersey

History: Started in 1960 in the basement of a pastry shop in Ozone Park, Queens

SOURCES: Seviroli Foods, Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency, Nassau County Industrial Development Agency, NYS Authorities Budget Office

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