UPDATE: A couple of Amoroso's workers tell me the company arranged to open a new bakery in Bellmawr, Camden County, after talks with New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno last year.
"We have heard" there was interest in moving to Bellmawr, but there has been no formal proposal to the borough council, planning or zoning boards, or any other borough office, borough clerk Chuck Sauter told me, after checking with Mayor Frank Filipek. The town is home to an Interstate Bakeries (Wonder Bread) warehouse depot and store, and the Tosti specialty-breads bakery.
"We haven't received any word that Amoroso plans to move to New Jersey," was all Guadagno spokeswoman Ernest Landante Jr. would say.
YESTERDAT: Amoroso's, the century-old, family-owned Philadelphia bread-roll maker that supplies hundreds of hoagie shops and grocers with the region's distinctive soft sandwich rolls, plans to move from its 50-year-old plant at 845 S. 55th Street, according to workers and the bakers' union president.
The company says they are going to move, in a couple of years. According to them, "they don't have a facility yet," Barry Fields, president of bakery workers' union Local 6, told me after I called to confirm reports from employees.
The union is currently in negotiations for contract renewal for 150 workers at the bakery, which is also the hub for dozens of daily-delivery drivers. Fields said the bakers average $15-$16 an hour.
Employment was higher when the Amorosos made rolls for Wawa Inc. stores at the site. But that work moved to the Omni bakery, owned by a partnership between cousins Daniel and Leonard Amoroso and Atlantic City's Mulloy family, in 2008, after New Jersey lured the new bakery, which eventually employed over 350, with tax breaks and $14 million in cut-rate financing.
(Around the same time, Pennsylvania was investing over $30 million in cheap loans for Tastykake's new dessert bakery in South Philadelphia, now owned by Flowers Foods.)
Two Amoroso workers told me they hear Amoroso has a Camden County site in mind and that state officials visited the West Philly site last fall to work out financial incentives. Len Amoroso wasn't immediately available for comment.