Local Merita store closes as Hostess goes bankrupt
Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 1:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 1:56 p.m.
The Merita Bakery Outlet located at 2160 NE 31st Ave. has closed down amid ongoing proceedings to declare bankruptcy by the Hostess Brands corporation.
Landlord of the property Mike Yoho said the company has leased out the building for the past 20 years.
Yoho said that even after the business shut its doors, cars continue to try to pull into the parking lot — which is now roped off with red tape.
“There’s people still pulling in, cause you could go over there and get bread a lot cheaper than like Walmart,” Yoho said.
On the door of the closed business is a handwritten sign that reads: “The Union Put Us Out of Business.”
Eleven Hostess employees in Gainesville received WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notices, according to a list from floridajobs.com.
In mid-November, Hostess Brands released a letter to employees who received WARN notices explaining the happenings surrounding the feud between the company and the unions that represent its employees.
“The Cincinnati, Ohio, Seattle, Washington, and St. Louis, Missouri plants have been closed because ongoing strikes have crippled productions at these locations. Other facilities may be shutdown in the future as a result of the impact the strike has had on production at those facilities,” the letter read.
Yoho estimated that more than a dozen lost their jobs when the Merita bread outlet on Waldo Road shut down.
Executive Director of All Faiths Food Bank Marcia Cornwell said the food bank used to receive two to three stacks of donated bread from the Merita Bakery Outlet a week.
Cornwell said the bread the food bank received from the Merita outlet was a small percentage of the total food acquired but that its absence will have a significant effect.
“When we lose anything, even if it’s a small amount, it has an impact,” she said.
Cornwell said many food banks across the state also received weekly donations from Merita bread outlets.
The closing of the outlet definitely will have an impact on the community, Cornwell said.
“It’s really going to hurt the working poor,” she said.
The owner of the business could not be reached for this article.