The refrigerated warehouse was ready, the opening ceremony planned. Everything...

The refrigerated warehouse was ready, the opening ceremony planned. Everything cooperated except -- the ribbon. It refused to be cut, but eventually gave to Sysco Long Island president Frank Recine, center. (June 15, 2012) Credit: Steve Pfost

The ribbon just wouldn't be cut.

All the difficult tasks concerning the opening of Sysco Long Island Llc, the region's newest and largest food-distribution facility, had long been completed by Friday morning.

The planning, the construction and the financing of the facility in Central Islip all went fairly smoothly over the past two years, according to town officials.

The ribbon cutting, however, was another matter.

Try as they might, Islip Supervisor Tom Croci, Sysco Long Island president Frank Recine, and other town and company officials could not make a big pair of scissors slice cleanly through a twisted piece of white cloth. There was some grunting, laughs and red faces as they cut and cut and cut. And finally, the cloth broke. A cheer went up from assembled onlookers -- Sysco workers, town employees and Islip residents invited to the ceremony.

Aside from that, it was a banner day for the town, which like most municipalities on Long Island is in need of new jobs. Sysco Long Island, part of Houston-based Sysco Corp., the nation's largest food-distribution company, promises to employ as many as 300 people at the 420,000-square-foot, $92-million plant that sits on 50 acres off Lowell Avenue.

"We're going to start shipping out July 30," Recine said before the ceremony. He said the facility will ship 35,000 cases of food and beverages to restaurants, hotels, nursing homes, caterers and industrial facilities every day.

"This has been a program Islip has been waiting for," Croci told a crowd of about 100 outside the facility. "If there's one thing Long Islanders want these days it's jobs, and food."

Suffolk Legis. Ricardo Montano (D-Brentwood), who was at the event, called the plant opening "an economic boon for the community."

Josephine Walsh, president of the Central Islip Civic Council Board, also on hand for the ceremony, said residents, town officials and Sysco had worked to resolve issues such as noise from trucks going in and out of the plant. "It's our feeling they're going to be good neighbors," Walsh said.

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