By Mark Matthews
BELLMAWR NJ- Bellmawr's largest building, the former Harcourt book distribution center was recently sold, and indications are it will see new life as the home to Amoroso's Bakery... one of Philadelphia's most beloved signature companies.
(see video below)
UPDATE: Phillynews.com's Joe DiStefano has been in contact with bakery boss Len Amoroso who says "A real estate partnership, which we are part of, bought that [Bellmawr] building....". But Len then goes on to say "But we have not made any decisions yet". Head over to Joe DiStefano's PhillyDeals blog for more comments. Could this be a big play in the "which state is going to give me the best offer" gambit?
CoStar group reported the sale on its website, and it appears to have also been reported earlier at the Business Journal sites.
The huge 390,000 square-foot distribution center was sold to 151 Partners LLC for $4.94 Million.
The Amoroso story gained wide-spread attention almost a year ago to the day, when Phillynews.com business reporter Joseph DiStefano published an article on the potential for a move, with discussions taking place to move the bakery to Bellmawr.
Around the same time, NJBiz.com reported the NJ Economic Development Authority (EDA) approved a "Grow New Jersey" award of up to $20.7 million for 151 Foods LLC, to help Amaroso's decide between a location in Bellmawr NJ, or Morrisville, PA. The award is also references in the official NJEDA.com website (PDF). The Grow New Jersey program (website) is one that offers both grants and tax incentives to companies growing their businesses in New Jersey, or relocating into the state.
Connecting everything, if you haven't already noticed... the original grant award documentation for Amoroso lists the company in state documents as 151 Foods LLC. The company purchasing the Bellmawr property is listed as 151 Partners LLC. Also, website DelVal.biz lists the address for 151 Partners LLC as the Cherry Hill office of law firm Dilworth Paxson. This lawfirm has assisted Amoroso's bakery with other matters including trademark protection.The location in Bellmawr seems well suited for Amoroso's bakery and distribution location, as it's proximity to the major roads of 295, 42, NJ Turnpike and the bridges into Philadelphia should really help to streamline their distribution capabilities throughout the Delaware Valley. But Amoroso's is much more than a Delaware Valley roll, as they say there are distributors in 42 states.
And the recently completed improvements at the Wendy's traffic light on Black Horse Pike and Benigno Blvd will definately help handle increased truck traffic. It's as if someone had planned these together.
Amoroso's is a Philadelphia institution, with it's amazing success closely tied to another Philadelphia legend... the cheesesteak. A PDF marketing piece on the baker's website describes the connection and history to the famous Philly cheesesteak (PDF), and in this interview on YouTube, Leonard Amoroso describes the history of Amoroso's success and baking process.
My wife and I already enjoy from our back deck the sweet cinnamony smells of the J&J Snack Foods churro plant on Benigno, and now it looks like we will have a huge roll bakery adding to the delicious scents.
The new Amoroso's bakery, combined with J&J Snack Foods "Churros", will give the old nickname "Smellmawr" a whole new meaning. :-)