ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A year after a devastating fire, an iconic New Jersey factory says it is back in business.
Marcal paper factory is making a comeback Friday.
“Marcal paper is official back in business,” said Marcal Paper CEO Robert Baron, announcing the official restart of paper manufacturing.
It comes one year and one day since fire destroyed much of Marcal’s paper mill. The devastating, ten alarm fire immediately shut down the plant, and left nearly 400 employees without jobs.
So it was surprising to just about everyone, including Gov. Phil Murphy, that operations are already back up and running.
“What a difference a year makes, my lord,” Murphy said. “Today, against all odds, manufacturing is back in Elwood Park. Jobs are coming back to Marcal.”
The restart of the plant of paper making is starting out small compared to where it was a year ago, as most of the plant was leveled by the fire.
Marcal has more than 100 employees right now as operations resume. Debra Saddler is one of them. She’s been working there for 25 years.
“This has been my family away from home. I’ve put many, many years in here, many hours each day. And I’m ecstatic to know we are going to start up again and be better than ever,” she said.
It’s not just the employees that are happy the plant is running again. Across the street at the River View East restaurant, business is better when the plant is open.
“It always was good for us. When they come back, it’s going to be good again,” said River East View owner Tom Decicco.
Before the fire, Marcal was a beacon of manufacturing and commerce in Elmwood Park. It was the largest employer in the city. Its CEO is now grateful that the fire didn’t mark the end of Marcal’s story.
“We’re happy that that day, January 30, 2019, wasn’t going to be our last chapter, that there is a future for us,” Baron said.
As for that Iconic glowing Marcal sign that collapsed in the fire, company officials told CBS2’s Nick Caloway there is hope to one day rebuild it.
Marcal is one of the oldest tissue manufacturers in the country. It uses recycled paper to produce its tissue paper.