SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

May 15, 2013

A sweet success

Jacqueline's Gourmet Cookies has grown from 3 employees to 75, and expects to add another 35 jobs at its Salem facility

SALEM — Chances are you have munched on treats from Jacqueline’s Gourmet Cookies without ever knowing it.

That’s because the private-label Salem cookie wholesaler pumps out 2 million frozen cookies a day for hotels, cruise lines, in-store supermarket bakeries, catering operations and food service distributors nationwide.

It does so from a sizable cookie production plant at 96 Swampscott Road, where it settled in 2006.

While Jacqueline’s Gourmet Cookies is not a household name, the state is certainly aware of the expanding bakery.

Last week state economic officials toured the company with founder Jacqueline Hazel of Revere; President Marc Hazel of Swampscott, Jacqueline’s son; and quality assurance manager Lucille Freddo of Swampscott, Jacqueline’s daughter.

Greg Bialecki, the state’s secretary of economic development, and other officials arrived not only to sample the cookies, don hair nets and tour the plant, but to highlight the company’s growth and the financial help it is receiving from the state’s Economic Development Incentive Program. This state tax credit program, Bialecki said, favors manufacturers that have managed to stay competitive in a tough business environment.

Jacqueline’s has $30 million in annual sales and 75 employees, many of them from Salem, Lynn and Revere. The company plans to add another 35 jobs over the next several years.

Officials toured the noisy plant where ingredients for cookies and scones were being labeled, mixed in giant mixers, extruded onto sheets, weighed, frozen, packaged and boxed. Bialecki asked Marc Hazel if the recession had hampered the company’s growth.

Hazel replied the company grew 25 percent each year of the recession, leading to a recent expansion.

In March, Jacqueline’s Gourmet Cookies was one of nine projects approved to participate in the Economic Development Incentive Program.

For Jacqueline’s, this meant a $283,000 tax credit spread over several years that can be used to lower the company’s state tax bill to support the $2.8 million investment the company poured into its 25,000-square-foot production facility.

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