When venture capitalists move in, family and sentiment often move out.
So it is not surprising that Sal Ferrara, the latest generation of his family to operate the business, has resigned as CEO some 18 months after merging it into a confectionary company backed by venture capitalists.
Ferrara insists he left of his own accord, acknowledged a clash of cultures, and said he would find a way to stay in the candy business. We wish him well and thank him for the vital role the family company has played in Forest Park over generations. Property tax payer, employer, generous benefactor to all things Forest Park, that is the role this company has filled in the village.
But we are less convinced by Ferrara’s declaration that the large candy plant on Harrison Street is safe going forward. Two plants – Minnesota and Tennessee — were closed just after the merger and the candy industry has been shifting production capacity out of the US for decades.
That means Forest Park village government officials have to start thinking about potential next uses for this site, a use that will contribute notable property taxes. The future of this plant might also have impact on the coming redo of the Ike where a rail spur servicing Ferrara Pan was a factor in future planning.