Kozy Shack Enterprises Inc., which makes rice pudding and other refrigerated desserts, will lay off 32 workers at its Hicksville operation as the business switches distributors, a state regulatory notice and Kozy Shack's parent company said.
Minnesota-based Land O'Lakes Inc., which bought the Long Island company in 2012, said it is discontinuing the Freshway Distributors subsidiary of Kozy Shack that employed the workers. Instead it will use an outside distributor.
"As a result of the difficult decision to discontinue the Freshway Distributors LLC business, the employees will no longer be Land O'Lakes Inc. employees," a Land O'Lakes spokeswoman said late Thursday.
The spokeswoman declined to say how many employees would remain after the layoffs, which will occur from Aug. 5 to Aug. 21, or if the affected workers would be able to apply for jobs with the new distributor.
The Hicksville operation employed 318 people when the giant food cooperative bought Kozy Shack three years ago. Land O'Lakes said at the time that it planned to continue operating both the production and distribution facilities.
In 2008 Nassau County and New York State offered Kozy Shack tax breaks to expand in Hicksville, including a land purchase and building upgrades. The $10.5 million project included a $337,000 grant and a utility-bill reduction from the state. In return Kozy Shack pledged to add 35 employees.
Vincent Gruppuso started Kozy Shack in a Queens factory in 1967. He moved it to Mineola in 1977 and later to Hicksville, where it has been for about 20 years. After he died in 2008, the company was transferred to his three daughters. Land O'Lakes bought the business four years later.