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Bartlett Dairy Returns Home to Queens, Bringing Back Hundreds of Jobs

City, state, and community officials celebrate groundbreaking for Bartlett Dairy Inc.’s new headquarters and distribution facility (Photo: NYCEDC)

Aug. 17, 2021 By Ryan Songalia

A dairy company that hails from Queens is returning to the World’s Borough from New Jersey.

Bartlett Dairy, a minority-owned family business that was established in Queens in 1963, broke ground Thursday on a 54,000 square foot headquarters and food distribution center. The facility is going up at the JFK North Site, between the Nassau Expressway and Rockaway Boulevard.

Approximately 165 jobs with wages averaging $70,000 per year will be brought back to the borough from New Jersey, where the company has been running its distribution operations in recent years. The project will also create approximately 100 construction union jobs.

Bartlett had at one time run its New York distribution operations out of Elmhurst Dairy in Jamaica, until it was closed in 2016 by the plant’s owner, Henry Schwartz, citing a lack of profitability. That closure put 273 people out of work, according to the New York Times.

“We are excited to be returning home to Jamaica,” said Thomas Malave Jr., President of Barlett Dairy at the groundbreaking. “When my father started this company more than fifty years ago, Bartlett Dairy was a small one man, one truck operation.”

“Over the years, my brothers and I have worked tirelessly to build upon the opportunity our father provided. It has been astonishing to see the growth that we have been able to achieve.”

The groundbreaking, according to Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, is a strong indicator that the borough is making a rapid economic comeback.

“Queens is not just leading the way out of the pandemic. It’s leading the way toward a future where good-paying jobs right here in the borough sustain entire communities,” Richards said. “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome back upwards of 165 good-paying jobs to Queens.”

Aerial view of new Bartlett Dairy, Inc. headquarters. Courtesy of Tonab Architecture PLLC.

Bartlett Dairy was established by Thomas Malave Sr. who delivered bottles of milk to homes seven days a week as a one man operation.

Thomas Malave, Sr. (Photo: BartlettNY.com)

Malave later partnered with his five sons to expand the business to include deliveries to stores and restaurants. Bartlett Dairy was incorporated in 1990, and the company now delivers dry and perishable goods to schools, hotels, grocery stores, supermarkets, hospitals and restaurants across the tri-state area.

“Today’s groundbreaking is a true testament to New York City’s continued economic recovery,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Rachel Loeb. “Bartlett’s new headquarters and dairy and food distribution center will bring quality jobs to New Yorkers, while strengthening the City’s food economy. We are proud to have worked with Bartlett Dairy and Queens Borough President Richards to make this happen.

Rendering of new headquarters and distribution center for Bartlett Dairy, Incorporated. Courtesy of Tonab Architecture PLLC.

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