Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. announced yesterday that it is closing its Columbus, Ohio, bakery, eliminating 411 jobs and a local institution that has stood for 90 years.
According to the company, “After evaluation of the equipment and layout of the plant, it became clear that the outdated layout and age of the equipment were no longer sustainable for us to remain competitive.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.”
Workers will be paid for 60 days before receiving severance based on years of service per their collective bargaining agreement with the company, Kroger said. The company also is encouraging workers to consider openings at other Kroger facilities.
Kroger said it plans to sell the four-story, 190,000-square-foot building on 3.3 acres.
The company said it will shift work from that plant to other production facilities or third-party suppliers.
A report in the Columbus Dispatch said that workers at the plant typically made more than $20 an hour plus overtime and differentials for working nights, wages that would be tough to match at other Kroger operations.
“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,” Kroger said in a statement. “As a company, we must be able to adapt to the ever-changing retail environment and meet the needs of our customers.”
Further, the company stated, “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.”
Kroger has seven other baking facilities located in La Habra, Calif.; Denver; Indianapolis; Bowling Green, Ky.; Clackamas, Ore.; Anderson, S.C.; and Layton, Utah.