Photo: courtesy of Elmhurst Dairy

For the first time in history, New York City will be without a local dairy supplier.

Elmhurst Dairy, located on 155-25 Styler Rd. in Jamaica, Queens, announced on Tuesday that it will be closing its doors for good after more than 80 years of business.

For nearly the last 20 years, Elmhurst Dairy was the last of its kind in New York City. About 20 milk processing plants have closed due to the difficult up-keep of operating a dairy business in a rapidly changing market. In this day and age, the popularity of other calcium-rich products such as almond and soy milk have taken a toll on the business. CEO Henry Schwartz said the decision to close the family business was a last resort.

“My family was dedicated to trying to keep the plant open long past the years that it was economically viable because it was the wishes of its founder, Max Schwartz, that future generations of the family continue the business. The family did so at a very high cost but is unable to continue to do so without ongoing losses,” Schwartz explained.

The closing of the factory will affect 273 employees but Elmhurst Dairy is committed to re-using the site in a way that will benefit the community economically.

Elmhurst Dairy opened in the mid 1930s by brothers Max and Arthur Schwartz. It started in the milk house of their father’s dairy farm on Caldwell Avenue in Elmhurst and blossomed into a high-demand business after it moved to Jamaica.

At its peak, Elmhurst Dairy produced more than 5 million quarts a week and catered to a market of 11 million people.


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Ma August 02, 2016 / 11:57PM
Pete drove for Elmhurst for over 30 years....A good Union Job.....The work was hard..Lifting thousands of pounds of cases of milk every night in every kind of weather....No sick days...You didn't go to work...You didn't get paid.....During the terrible strike in the 70's the men were out of work for many weeks. Few women earned a comparable salary...certainly few wives of milkmen..The men, out of work, walked picket lines, fought actual fist fights and more with Jersey "Scabs" trying to take their jobs..take the bread from their families...Mortgages went unpaid...Things were getting violent and desperate all around...Then Charlie SChwartz spoke with a few drivers, Pete being one of them.... They came to agreement...a win-win solution. Charles Scwartz, owner of a successful small business, knew that a business is only as good as the people who work for you. Thank you Elmhurst for giving us the wherwithall to feed the family, keep a roof over our heads....and more.....The work was hard...But thankfully, Pete was...and still is Strong.

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David Waxman August 02, 2016 / 06:47PM
They will be missed. I liked the taste of the milk from Elmhurst.

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Jeff Bushkin August 02, 2016 / 06:07PM
I salute all the dairy greats in the 5 boroughs. - Jeff Bushkin, son of dairy favorite Mrs. Miriam D. Bushkin. If you know of her, please share a story or two, thanks!

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