BY TOM HESTER SR.
Damascus Bakery, a family-run bakery that has operated in Brooklyn since 1930, will relocate to Newark by early next year and is expected to create 180 jobs.
Damascus Bakery is a third-generation commercial baking company. Owned by brothers Ed and David Mafoud, the bakery began making pita breads and now bakes pizza crusts and gourmet flatbreads. Its products are distributed nationwide and are used by such well-known businesses as Starbucks and Costco.
The company is relocating its headquarters and operations from a 20,000-square-foot facility in Brooklyn to a 117,000-square-foot facility in the South Ward of Newark’s Urban Enterprise Zone. Damascus Bakery purchased the building for close to $3.5 million and will invest close to $1.2 million in site improvements and upgrades.
The state is providing the bakery with a $7.75 million tax-exempt bond and two loans from the Local Development Financing Fund Program totaling $1.75 million. The company also received a Business Employment Incentive Program grant for $414,000 tied to the creation of 180 manufacturing jobs. The state and city worked with Damascus for almost three years to help the bakery find a site for its business.
"People have asked me, why Newark? I tell them, Why not Newark?” Ed Mafoud, a Damascus partner, said Monday. “We love what Newark and New Jersey have to offer – a diverse and energetic work force and a pro-business administration. We are grateful for the support we are getting from the city and state."
“It’s only fitting that Damascus Bakery’s commitment to creating jobs in New Jersey comes in the week of the one-year anniversary of the New Jersey Business Action Center, our state’s one-stop-shop for business,” Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno said at the bakery’s new location. "Our Administration created the Business Action Center to provide assistance at the state-level for companies looking to expand, relocate and invest in New Jersey.”