FAIR LAWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – It’s the end of an era for a Bergen County factory.
The old Nabisco plant in Fair Lawn will shut down after more than 60 years of operation.READ MORE: No Mask Mandate In NYC Though De Blasio 'Strongly Recommends' Wearing Them; Cuomo Announces MTA, Port Authority Workers Must Be Vaccinated By Labor Day Or Face Testing
“We’ve tried and we’ve done the best we could, but it’s over,” said employee Lorena Mahan.
As CBS2’s Nick Caloway reports, Friday was the last day on the job for Mahan and hundreds of other employees of the old Nabisco plant. Mahan is a technician at the plant. She’s been coming to work loyally for nearly three decades.
“I had a nice run though. For the most part, 29 years, I had a nice run,” she said.
The Nabisco name has been baked into the Fair Lawn community since 1958, pumping out truckloads Oreos and shipping them all over the country. In the process, filling the surrounding neighborhoods with the sweet scent of fresh-baked cookies.
“You would walk out at night and all of a sudden you would smell the cookies. And it’s just another thing that’s changing about the town,” said resident Hilary Hess.
“It’s a landmark in the town and it’s been here I think close to 60 years. Springtime was always very special when you get up in the morning and smell the cookies in the air. You knew that it was time that summer was coming around. It’s just a historic landmark,” said resident Julie Luciano.
It’s more than just the smell. Kids growing up there would go on class trips to tour the plant.READ MORE: Governors Ball Drops Rapper DaBaby From Lineup Over Homophobic Remarks
“It’s a big part of our community, so there’s a lot of sadness here to see it go,” Fair Lawn Mayor Kurt Peluso.
Earlier this year, Nabisco’s parent company, Mondelez International, announced it would close the facility, consolidating its East Coast operations to a hub in Virginia, putting most of the 600 employees out of work.
State and local leaders tried convincing the company to reconsider, but it was too late.
“Once we found out they were leaving, we decided to help the employees find new careers. So we have about 18 local companies that are offering jobs to a lot of these 600 employees who are being laid off,” Peluso said.
As they clocked in one final shift, the reality set in. Many workers thought they would retire there. Mahan was one of them.
“It’s disappointing, as far as leaving my job that I’ve committed and dedicated myself to. But unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do about it,” she said.
Mahan told Caloway that even after 29 years on the job, it feels like she’s going to have to start all over again.
As for what happens to the old plant, there has been a lot of commercial interest in the property, Caloway reported. So it doesn’t sound like it will be empty for long.MORE NEWS: Child Tax Credit: Monday Is Deadline To Opt Out Of Advance Monthly Payments
Nick Caloway contributed to this report.