There’s big news this week in the quiet little village of Silver Creek, New York. Petri Baking Products, Inc. has announced its intention to return and re-open the soft cookie baking operation there.
Petri Baking Products, Inc. (Petri) has reincorporated with the intention of recreating their success as the top private label soft cookie manufacturer in the United States. But this time they are not going to stop with making only cookies. Petri plans to build a successful, stable platform of cookie sales to start with, and then springboard into any and all categories of the snack food aisle. This time when their satisfied retail chain customers ask: “What else can you make for us?” the answer will be: “What else do you want?”
Private label, also known as store brands, are products packaged for sale under the retailer’s name instead of the manufacturer’s name. As before, this is the segment in which Petri will operate.
The company’s former President, Anthony Habib, will return to the helm as President and is presently assembling his leadership team. Habib said, “Our family was devastated when we received the news that Petri was going to close in 2013.” Habib continued, “While we cannot fix the past seven years, we are excited to start a new chapter in Silver Creek while building a business that produces baked goods for grocery and big box stores throughout the U.S.”
Habib described the company being in a unique position, saying, “We have all the relationships and skill sets necessary for success, combined with the drive of a startup.” Habib continued, “Our team is a known entity, but our company will have even more product offerings than before.”
Petri plans to acquire its former location in the familiar red block building located at 18 Main Street, Silver Creek. Renovations will return the facility to food grade status, and brand new machinery and equipment will be installed – including one new oven to start – with plans for future growth. Approximately 40 new jobs are planned when operations begin in early 2021, with over 100 projected during the first three years. According to the company, all jobs will be high quality with attractive benefits.
Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel said, “Petri returning to Silver Creek, with the Habib family’s local leadership, is especially great news during the coronavirus pandemic as we turn our attention from crisis mode to re-starting the economy and our future.”
The County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) and Chautauqua Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC) have been working very closely with Mr. Habib and Petri’s team to support the bakery re-opening. To date, the New York Power Authority has awarded a 500 kW hydropower allocation (electricity incentive), and the agencies are working with the Village of Silver Creek toward an Office of Community Renewal loan application. Additional assistance is also underway.
Mark Geise, Chautauqua County’s Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and CEO of the CCIDA said, “Our CCIDA and CREDC staff have been actively initiating and coordinating extensive technical support to Petri Baking Products for many months, along with the identification and processing of economic programs to incentivize the company to locate here. This is great news for Silver Creek and Chautauqua County, and it couldn’t come at a better time.”
Locals recall fondly the aroma of cookies baking in the downtown area. Village of Silver Creek Mayor Jeffrey Hornburg said, “The Village of Silver Creek is pleased to join with Petri Baking Products, Inc. to assist in the reopening and repurposing of their former manufacturing plant at 18 Main Street in the Village.” Hornburg continued, “We are excited to be working with the CCIDA, the Chautauqua Region Economic Development Corporation, the New York State Office of Community Renewal, and Anthony Habib of the Petri organization to bring this project to completion.” Hornburg added, “The Petri Baking Company was a mainstay in our community for many years, and it will be a pleasure to see the company return and provide economic stability and employment back within the Village limits.”
Snack foods remain popular among Americans. According to industry reports, the snack food market in the United States reached the $150 billion mark in 2019. And consumers are snacking more than ever before. A reported 95% of people snack at least once per day and 47% snack 3+ times per day, which bodes well for Petri. Further good news for Petri is that 65% of consumers believe that a sweet is more of a snack than a salty treat.
Are you wondering which cookie verities will be offered? These will sound familiar to former consumers. Initially, Petri will focus on the top five varieties of soft cookies which are chocolate chip, oat raisin, oatmeal, molasses, and fruit-filled. Going forward, they will add other soft varieties based on demand and capacity.
Habib commented, “When we say our cookies are soft, we actually mean it.” Petri cookies are known for maintaining their proper texture throughout the five-month shelf life, differentiating their products from the competition.
Petri Baking Products, Inc. expects to begin operations in the 1st quarter of 2021.
The CCIDA is an economic development organization authorized and empowered by the State of New York to make Chautauqua County a better place to work, live, visit, and conduct business. The organization facilitates development by attracting new businesses, while promoting the retention and expansion of existing businesses. Assistance in the form of incentives – tax abatements, low interest loans, and bond financing – enhances the opportunities for job creation and retention for our businesses. For more information, visit www.ccida.com