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New England Natural Bakers looking for larger space

  • New England Natural Bakers owner John Broucek with some of their products.  March 29, 2012 Franz<br/><br/>
  • New England Natural Bakers' current building on Fairview Street in Greenfield. <br/>(Recorder/Paul Franz)
  • The old Bendix-Repal property at the end of Laurel Sreet in Greenfield.  <br/>(Recorder/Paul Franz)

GREENFIELD — A 12-year-old bakery that has made its home on Fairview Street for more than a decade is looking for a larger space to accommodate its consistent growth, but hasn’t decided whether it will stay in Greenfield or move to Turners Falls.

John Broucek, president and general manager of New England Natural Bakers, said one of the spots the employee-owned company is considering in Greenfield is the former Bendix-Repal property on Laurel Street extension.

Broucek said there would be enough space to build a 60,000-square-foot factory there, but the company is concerned about groundwater contamination that was found there more than a decade ago.

He said that while the federal Environmental Protection Agency cleaned the property last year, and although the previous owner, Honeywell International Inc., continues to monitor the site, it appears that anyone who purchases the property from the town would be liable if more contamination were to be found in the future.

Broucek said the company doesn’t want to end up liable for contamination it did not cause but which could be found after it took ownership.

“That’s the one sticking point with the town,” said Broucek.

Mayor William Martin said he and Economic Development Director Robert Pyers are discussing all matters and concerns with Broucek and trying to work something out.

“We would love to see the company stay here,” said Martin.

New England Natural Bakers, which makes organic and conventional granola and muesli, has grown from 20 to 50 employees in 12 years.

Broucek, who started the business in 1977, said New England Natural Bakers has been looking for land for the past four to five months.

He said the company currently works out of two different locations with its factory in a 28,000-square-foot building on Fairview and a 10,000-square-foot warehouse in the industrial park in Turners Falls.

Broucek said the company would like enough space to build a 60,000-square-foot building and still have extra land to expand in the future, if necessary.

“We’re in a great industry and we’re growing every day,” said Broucek. “We’re seeing 10 to 12 percent growth every year.”

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