On Feb. 11, The Kroger Co. announced that it would be closing its bakery in Columbus, Ohio, due to the facility’s aging equipment and layout. According to reports, the bakery had been operating for 90 years, and its closing leaves 411 people without jobs.
The Cincinnati-based grocery chain released a statement about the closing:
“Today, the Kroger Family of Companies announced the closure of our Columbus Bakery facility, effective immediately. We are in a highly competitive business environment that is driving our company to ensure all areas of our business are meeting their full potential. As a company, we must be able to adapt to the ever-changing retail environment and meet the needs of our customers.
“After evaluation of the equipment and layout of the plant, it became clear that the outdated layout and age of the equipment were no longer sustainable for us to remain competitive. Production at the plant will cease immediately and the process of decommissioning its operations is expected to take 60-90 days.
“The company will honor the terms outlined in the collective bargaining agreements meaning that all Columbus Bakery associates will be paid as they normally would for 60 days before receiving severance based on years of service as outlined in their collective bargaining agreements. Additional services through Lee Hecht Harrison will be offered to eligible associates to participate in career building workshops, and all associates are encouraged to consider available positions in other Kroger facilities and business units. The company values the contributions of the Columbus Bakery associates, and this closure is no reflection on their effort.
“As a company, we continuously evaluate the efficiencies of our operations to ensure that every Kroger Manufacturing facility is meeting its full potential. At this time, there are no plans to close other facilities in our network.”