Residents react to dismantled Beech-Nut sign

Posted at: 02/04/2013 6:01 PM
Updated at: 02/05/2013 12:28 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

CANAJOHARIE - You'll notice something different if you head west on the Thruway. Something that was there for decades is now gone.

The Beech-Nut sign atop its former factory in Canajoharie has been taken down.

Beech-Nut stopped production of its baby food at that location nearly two years ago, moving production to a new plant in Montgomery County.

Now there's no sign to mark the place that was an economic engine in the village for about 80 years.

A company spokesman told NewsChannel 13 that the sign had deteriorated and that it also caused confusion for visitors and potential customers who were looking for the new facility in the town of Florida.

"It was simply time to once and for all close this particular chapter on Beech-Nut’s 100 year history in the Mohawk Valley and begin the start of a new chapter in the town of Florida," said spokesman Earl Wells III.

People who grew up seeing the sign as a symbol of Canajoharie or who had family members work there say it's sad to see it go.

"It's a shame. It was history, you know? It brought people into town and they should have never left," said Tanya Lanier, a waitress at the Village Restaurant, who said several family members had worked at the former factory and that her father still works at the new plant.

"Over the years, all the Beech-Nut families that made their livings and everything, to see the icon go, now it's just an unmarked, big empty building," Canajoharie Police Chief Bryan MacFadden said.

Beech-Nut is trying to sell the 800,000-square-foot factory, potentially to companies that do warehousing or transportation logistics.

Wells said the company consolidated all of Beech-Nut’s operations and jobs at the Florida location, including administrative offices that were located in Latham and marketing jobs that were once based in St. Louis.  The jobs at the cereal plant in Fort Plain also moved to Florida.