Bakery Closing Will Leave 160 People Without Jobs

Associated Press

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October 3, 2003

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The company that makes Wonder bread and Hostess snack cakes is closing an aging commercial bakery, eliminating 160 jobs.

Mark D. Dirkes, senior vice president of Interstate Bakeries Corp., said the Butternut Bakery, which has rolled out millions of loaves of bread and packages of buns since opening in 1950, will turn off its ovens in December.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based company, one of the nation's largest wholesale producers and distributors of baked goods, said it also plans to close several other bakeries during the next three years.

In September, IBC reported quarterly sales of its Wonder bread and similar brands down 7.2 percent from a year earlier. Snack cakes, including Twinkies and Ho-Hos, were off 6.6 percent.

Newer Ohio bakeries in Columbus, Defiance and Northwood, plus plants in Indianapolis and Hodgkins, Ill., will produce the local plant's Wonder, Butternut and Home Pride items and truck them daily to Grand Rapids, Dirkes said.

IBC has closed four plants since the end of 2002: two in California and one each in Idaho and Florida.

The company, which has 58 bakeries and 34,000 employees, acquired the Grand Rapids bakery in 1972 after the original owner, Michigan Bakeries, went bankrupt.


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