A kosher staple is closing up shop on Long Island. Entenmann’s is shuttering its Bay Shore factory, the baked goods company’s only Long Island facility, after nearly a century of operation, Newsday reports. William Entenmann Jr. opened a bake shop in 1924 in Bay Shore, later expanding the enterprise with a factory on five acres nearby. His father, William Entenmann, opened the first Entenmann’s bakery in 1898 in Flatbush, Brooklyn.
“The bakery was closed because it can no longer effectively compete in the market,” said David Margulies, spokesman for Entenmann’s parent company, Bimbo Bakeries USA, which bought Entenmann’s in 2009. “The transition was smooth, with no disruption to the marketplace.”
Of the plant’s 265 workers, 176 were laid off as the company shifted production to other locations, including Pennsylvania.
The factory’s closure is being keenly felt in Bay Shore, as longtime employees, some of them second-generation Entenmann’s workers, seek jobs elsewhere. (In the 1990s more than 1,500 people worked at the plant.) But it’s also a blow to local fans of the company’s donuts—particularly those who keep kosher, for whom the trademark white Entenmann’s box—which bore a kosher certification—was both a delight and a relief.
According to Gil Marks, author of The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, the kosher certification of Entenmann’s in the early 1980s was a major moment in the history of the temple kiddush. “At my shul in Richmond, Va., the kiddush ladies would buy a bunch of Entenmann’s on sale and stick them in the freezer,” Marks told Tablet contributor Leah Koenig in 2012.
The closure likely won’t affect Entenmann’s stock in grocery stores—the company’s owner, Bimbo Bakeries, operates 75 manufacturing facilities around the country, so those Entenmann’s coffee cake donuts aren’t going anywhere just yet.
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.