MAYVILLE, N.Y.:-- Chautauqua County officials received news that Castelli America, LLC closed its facility located at 5151 Fairbanks Rd. in Ashville, N.Y. on December 6, 2019. This closure has affected approximately 50 employees.
The Nuovo Castelli Group, which is based in Reggio Emilia, Italy, is a producer and distributor of a variety of Italian cheeses. It initially purchased the former Empire Specialty Cheese manufacturing plant in Ashville in September 2016.
Over the past few years, the facility has benefited from more than $8 million in upgrades to its equipment, building structure, and waste treatment facilities. In 2018, Castelli America also worked with the Town of Harmony and the CCIDA to secure two federally-funded Community Development Block Grants administered by the NYS Office of Community Renewal to expand the facility and create additional jobs.
“Despite the County, County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA), State and Federal assistance in the form of low-interest loans, grants, and technical assistance, we were informed that Castelli America, LLC has been experiencing challenges related to production and sales,” said Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and CEO of the CCIDA. “This is a state-of-the-art facility with a ready source of milk producers, and the CCIDA is hopeful that the facility will be attractive to potential new operators.”
According to recent news releases, the sale of Castelli to Lactalis appears imminent. Lactalis, the largest multi-national dairy products cooperation in the world, is headquartered in Laval, Mayenne, France and has several locations in the U.S.
“We don’t know what the sale of Castelli America to Lactalis will mean yet for the Ashville facility,” said Stephen Abdella, Acting Chautauqua County Executive. “Chautauqua County and the CCIDA are doing everything in their power to assist the company and its employees. We have contacted the Chautauqua County Workforce Development Board to help connect displaced workers with current job openings and available re-training programs. We are also in discussions with the State to help the displaced workers, and to find a purchaser for the facility if Lactalis decides to not keep it open.”