| Carolyn Noel
CHICOPEE – Many local residents are feeling the loss of Blue Seal kielbasa with Chicopee Provision closed once again due to maintenance. Chicopee Community Facebook forums have been filled with inquiries on why the Chicopee Provision building is currently shut down, especially during the start of the busy holiday season.
Carolyn Donnelly, corporate secretary and partial business owner of Chicopee Provision, said that the building is closed again due to a necessary roof repair. A previous flood forced the building to halt production at the beginning of the year, and a cooling system issue led to another closure in the summer.
"This is a 93 year old building. Now we’re having problems with the upper half and what it’s down to at the moment is we’re having a new roof put on. Once that new roof is put on that’s the last of the repairs and then we should be able to open and we’ll get the kielbasa back into the stores,” said Donnelly.
Chicopee Provision hopes to finish the roof repair as soon as possible. They will then need to get approval from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to resume production of their iconic Blue Seal kielbasa. Once the company resumes production and can build up a little stock, the kielbasa will be back in stores. According to Donnelly, they hope to be back in stores in time for the holidays this month.
“We just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope that the last of these repairs can get done as quickly as possible so we can get the kielbasa back out there and be producing to get it all going again,” she said.
Chicopee Provision has also halted shipping out any kielbasa due to a UPS issue. According to Donnelly, UPS stopped guaranteeing two-day shipping for perishable food, and possible spoilage isn’t something the company wants to risk.
“We don’t wanna take that chance with food. For two day shipping, you can pay for it, but there’s no guarantee that you’re gonna get your food then. That’s not something we’re willing to do,” she said.
Donnelly noted that she hopes next year will be closer to normal and they will be able to go back to shipping eventually, preferably around Easter when kielbasa sales are big for the company.
For now, Chicopee Provision is in the process of redoing and updating their website and is looking into advertising so that they can let the community know when they reopen again. Many community members have reached out to Chicopee Provision to see if and how they could help the company. Some customers have even asked if they could donate to the company through GoFundMe to help them get back on their feet.
“We found out the hard way that that’s not something we can do, apparently that’s frowned upon because we are a business. As much as we could certainly use that, because now out of the last 14 months we’ve only been in business for three, so it’s been a very rough year. But I guess, as a business, that’s not something we can do,” Donnelly said.
Chicopee Provision is hopeful that the demand for kielbasa will remain and they will receive great support once they are up and running again.
“We’ve just gotta hope that the community is still out there looking for kielbasa when we do get it back into the stores,” she said.