NEW YORK (AP) — One of New York City's largest dairy distributors has closed its doors after losing its main milk distribution contract.
Dallas-based Dean Foods Co. terminated the deal after attempts to resolve financial problems failed.
Dean Foods spokesman Jamaison Schuler said Beyer Farms Inc. had been its distributor in the New York area for many years, but fell further and further behind in its payments to the nation's largest dairy producer. He said Beyer owes Dean Foods "several million dollars."
Beyer Farms also distributed Silk brand soy milk, Red Bull energy drink, Poland Spring water, Tropicana orange juice, Organic Valley milk, Dannon yogurt and other products, according to its website. It served supermarkets, national drug store chains, food service accounts, restaurants and a host small stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
About 150 workers lost jobs, including 138 members of Teamsters Local 584.
Most of the union members worked as delivery drivers. Union president Frank Wunderlich said the Dec. 11 shutdown was a surprise. Wunderlich said the union knew there were problems with money. But he said he never thought the problems would force the company to close its doors. Beyer never approached the union about renegotiating its contract, he said. "They didn't reach out."
Schuler said Dean Foods is working with other distributors in the New York area and Tuscan milk remains available for consumers.
A Beyer Farms representative did not return a message seeking comment. The Queens-based company began as a family farm in 1913 and was still run by the great-nephews of the founder.