ROTTERDAM — Mastroianni Brothers Bakery has shut down after more than nine decades of baking bread.
CEO and Chief Marketing Officer Warren Zeiser announced Tuesday, July 5, that the board of directors has decided to close the business due to several years of substantial financial losses.
“It is with the deepest regret that upon advice from council, the board has decided to shut down operations,” Zeiser announced.
Zeiser was brought on last July as the new CEO and CMO in an attempt to save the company, which had been in a sharp decline for many years. Zeiser helped rebrand the organization with a more modern look to attract the millennial generation. A new website was created, and an aggressive social media campaign was launched in late 2015.
Zeiser also spearheaded a marketing campaign with a focus on changing the company’s image, which had been suffering for several years. The mission was to get front and center out and into the community to regain many of the customers and to familiarize the younger generation with the brick oven bakery.
In October 2015, Zeiser helped to launch a coalition of local food manufacturers in the Schenectady area known as The Flavor of Schenectady. The group includes long standing companies such as Casa Visco Sauces, Pede Bros Pasta and Sindoni Sausage — as well as newer companies like Gatherer’s Granola, Wolf Hollow Brewing Company and Capoccia Winery. The team has been working together for the past nine months, and had been featured at many local community and charitable events in an effort to celebrate the rich history of food manufacturing in the Schenectady area.
“We could not be more proud to have partnered with these incredible companies, and we wish the Flavor of Schenectady much continued success”. Zeiser said.
Over the past year, Mastroianni launched eight new bakery items, including smaller versions of their most popular breads, and several all-natural and whole grain products in an effort to become more in-line with consumer trends.
While these initiatives proved to be highly successful over the past several months, the company’s financial hardships were ultimately too great to overcome. The board of directors made a decision to attempt to sell the company in January 2016. A deal was on the table in the spring, but negotiations broke down last week and an agreement could not be reached.
The company employed approximately 50 people in the local area, many of which have been with the bakery for upwards of 15-20 years. Zeiser said, “These were some of the finest and most loyal people I have ever encountered in my career.”
Zeiser also added that he is grateful to their retail partners who supported them over the years.
“I cannot thank our retail partners such as Price Chopper, Hannaford, Shop Rite, Walmart, Price Rite, Whole Foods and Restaurant Depot enough for all they have done to support Mastroianni Bakery,” Zeiser said.
He added, “On a very personal note, we want to thank the countless local businesses that have supported us in the Capital Region and beyond. We have a deep connection with so many of them, and we have helped each other through good times and bad for decades.”
Zeiser, who has tremendous respect for the company’s history, also said, “I want to say thank you to the entire Mastroianni family for creating this wonderful organization. Their legacy will forever be ingrained in the Schenectady community. Most importantly, I want to offer our eternal gratitude to the generations of insanely loyal customers who have supported us throughout the years.”
While the bakery has fully shut down operations, Zeiser said he is attempting to assemble another investment group in an attempt to resurrect the company.
“It had been my intent to purchase the bakery since I arrived and am working feverishly to see if it is not too late to make this happen,” he said.