A wholesale bakery plans to almost double its size and add 10 employees with the purchase of its first building.
Harvest Bakery, started nearly two decades ago in a rented garage, needs more space to handle growing orders, president Robert Marconti said Thursday at a meeting of the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency.
The IDA endorsed the business’ expansion plan, granting Harvest $187,000 in tax breaks including a $149,400 off property taxes, or a 27.5 percent reduction, over 10 years.
The company, now operating in rented space in Central Islip, plans to purchase 865 Waverly Ave. in Holtsville. The 24,000-square-foot building has been home to Landmark Foods, a food service business.
The $3-million project would add 10 employees to Harvest’s payroll of 23 by 2018. Records show that they earn, on average, $38,632 per year, excluding benefits.
“We’ve had growth of between 10 percent to 20 percent every year since inception,” said Marconti, who started the business in 1997 with Jose Gonzalez. “With this additional space, we will be able to expand into a lot of new markets.”
Harvest makes crumb cake, muffins, cookies and other baked goods that are sold by local delis and bagel shops. It also supplies ShopRite supermarkets and food service giant Sysco.
Marconti said he and Gonzalez became friends about 25 years ago when both were working in bakeries.
After graduating from Hofstra University with a business degree, Marconti said he first worked for a large corporation but missed the bakery business. He soon contacted Gonzalez and with $10,000 the two started Harvest in October 1997 in a Bohemia garage.
IDA board member Kevin Harvey, an official with the electrical workers’ union, praised Marconti and Gonzalez for holding down full-time jobs at other comapanies in Harvest’s early years. “Clearly, there was a lot of hard work,” Harvey said. “This is quite a success story.”
Marconti said if sales continue to grow rapidly, Harvest could eventually expand the Holtsville building to double the current size. He said, “There’s room to expand; the land is available.”