Koffee Kup, Vermont Bread Co. closures attributed to years of financial hardship
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – We are learning more about what led to the sudden shutdown and layoff of more than 400 workers at Koffee Kup bakery and its Brattleboro subsidiary, the Vermont Bread Company, on Monday night. The holding company that bought the iconic Burlington-based bakery earlier this month says years of financial losses have kept them from attracting new investors.
Inside the MoMo Market in Burlington’s OId North End, some shelves are stocked while others will not. “Normally the shelf is full from here to all the way with donuts, sliced bread. Right now we only have hot dog buns and hamburger buns left, ”said Norah Cunha of the store.
Koffee Kup bread and pastries have been an essential part of thousands of stores in the Northeast since 1940. With their sudden closure, stores like MoMos are wondering what’s next. “This sort of thing came out of nowhere. It really touched us, as it is the only bread company that supplies us. So we’re kind of at odds right now, ”Cunha said.
On Tuesday morning, former employees were emptying their belongings at the Riverside Avenue shuttered bakery. “22 years ago in the tubes,” said Mike Brown. Many employees arrived at work in the closed building on Monday and learned of the layoffs. Brown says the writing was on the wall for the struggling business. “Things were going badly, going south.
Meanwhile, recruiters are hoping Koffee Kup’s disappearance works to their advantage. Job advertisements are now filling the door and the lawn, trying to attract the 150 workers who have lost their jobs at the Burlington plant. “We’re looking to see if we can help and maybe get jobs for some of these people,” said Jennifer O’Neil, a local warehouse manager.
Many questions remain about the sudden shutdown and the finances behind it. Koffee Kup was purchased by a holding company, the American Industrial Acquisition Corporation, on April 1. Just three weeks later, the company shut down all operations, highlighting what it calls substantial financial losses dating back to 2017. AIAC officials declined to comment, but a company representing the company released a report. communicated:
“There is no villain in this story. During those four years, the lenders went above and beyond to support the business, the employees showed up and worked hard every day, the suppliers continued to supply the business, and the customers continued to purchase the products. . It’s just one of those tragic stories where things didn’t work out and it’s a horrible shame.
The company also claims that 50 investors reviewed Koffee Kup, but determined the business was not viable.
Back at the bakery, the neighbors say they will miss the local business. “Donuts have a unique smell and every morning when you walk in and they bake donuts, it’s like, ‘Boy, I’m hungry,’” said Ed Couillard of Burlington Collision.
In addition to the layoffs in Burlington and Brattleboro, a number of employees are also out of work at a Connecticut location.
BRATTLEBORO FIGHTS THE LOSS OF A MAJOR BUSINESS
The Vermont Bread Company, a subsidiary of Koffee Kup Bakery and a major employer in Brattleboro, was among the collateral damage of Monday’s sudden shutdown.
According to its website, the Vermont Bread Co. was founded in a barn on a dirt road in the 1970s. In 2013 it was acquired by Koffee Kup Bakery and was occupied until this week.
“I found out everything else from the news,” said Brandon Bostwick, who showed up for his shift on Monday, thinking it would be a normal day. Little did he know it would be his last day at the Vermont Bread Company. “There were only five people here. I asked what was going on and no one answered me. So basically we were cleaning up the place not knowing what was going on.
As the Koffee Kup and Bread Company trucks idled ahead, Bostwick began looking for another job, which he said he found almost immediately at another bakery down the road. Meanwhile, at the nearby Brattleboro Co-op, only two packages of English muffins from the Vermont Bread Company remained on the shelves on Tuesday.
“It sucks for other people because I know there are other people out there who have kids they need to support. And I am a father. I try to take care of my family like everyone else, ”said Bostwick.
“These employees were truly dedicated and passionate employees who were truly, by all accounts, blind,” said Adam Grinold, executive director of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation. It is his job to help find a new business for the factory. He says important features are already in place, including storage, loading docks and a skilled workforce. Grinold says there is an interested buyer. “They were a strategic partner identified in the first potential sale and they were not the ultimate winner, and they remain an interested partner.”
Federal funds could also be made available to employees seeking additional training to change careers, officials said.
Koffee Kup bakery closes and lays off more than 200 workers
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