When Paul Bensabat and Alan Bankier took over Manischewitz three years ago, they felt the company was sluggish and tired, like stale matzo. On Tuesday, they unveiled a new 200,000-square-foot corporate and manufacturing headquarters in Newark, adding another chapter to the rebranding of the 120-year-old company.
The move consolidated manufacturing of the company's kosher foods with corporate offices for the first time, moving approximately 75 employees from Jersey City, where the company set up shop after leaving Cincinnati in 1932.
"It makes sense from the standpoint of the people working better together, from the standpoint of efficiencies," said co-CEO Bensabat. "That was the one decision that motivated the move."
After the decision to move was made, Bensabat said the city of Newark assisted with "unparalleled" cooperation, further encouraging Manischewitz to grow.
"Any time there was a wall that was coming up — like you always have when you move world headquarters somewhere — the city was finding a way to knock it down, which every city would do eventually because they want to attract businesses," Bensabat said. "But they moved — they knocked them down quick, boom, boom, boom."
Bensabat also said, in addition to Newark's "can-do attitude" and "pro-business policies," it was important for Manischewitz to maintain its New Jersey roots when relocating the headquarters, where they have developed talent and skilled workers.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker was on hand at the grand opening, along side Yona Metzger, the chief rabbi of Israel, who blessed the facility.
Bensabat would not disclose the cost of renovating and expanding the new facility, but did say the matzo bakery line alone cost $15 million. The company debut the high-tech equipment by making a 25-foot matzo Tuesday, confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest matzo ever.
But extra-large baked goods are in no way the limit as to what Manischewitz is planning for the company's future. The company released 35 new products for Passover this year, many of which focus on health and wellness.
"We're making kosher food a culinary experience," Bensabat said.
Bensabat also said the company is also moving its products from an older, public warehouse to a new, 220,000-square-foot facility in Mount Olive in the coming days as part of the aggressive improvement plan.