The 100,000-square-foot bakery is the company’s oldest and third largest manufacturing plant, said Aunt Millie’s spokesperson Melissa Dunning. It mainly produces private-label and Sunbeam bread (a brand and trademark licensed by Quality Bakers of America).
“The phased closing will begin this month, and be completed by April 2018,” said Dunning. “About 91 bakery employees will be permanently eliminated.”
Aunt Millie’s leaders have informed its employees about the decision and said it will would work with the bakery union to offer transitional assistance to those affected.
John Popp, company’s president, said: “This is a critical step in reducing excess capacity and costs, to allow ourselves to maintain our leadership position in the baking industry. We reached this extremely difficult but necessary decision after thoroughly exploring other options.
“The company will continue to operate six other bakeries in the Midwest (four in Michigan, one in Indiana and the other in Ohio), and the Aunt Millie’s headquarters will remain in Fort Wayne, with about 120 administrative employees.”
Dunning said Aunt Millie’s is currently expanding its business in the Chicagoland area, Wisconsin and Southern Kentucky, and is second largest buns producer in the Great Lakes region after Grupo Bimbo.