“We gave it a shot, it just didn’t work.” “We’re literally working for nothing.”: U.S. Food Crisis, December 2017

Incomplete list of announced United States food supply shutdowns for the month of December, 2017: Many food suppliers/distributors are consolidating operations and killing jobs due to the collapsing grocery store and restaurant industries, as well as rising costs of food production, spread of disease and extreme weather.

The Star Beacon: Weather has affected agriculture nationwide

St. Louis Public Radio: Missouri Department of Agriculture places restrictions on Monsanto

Reuters: “Minnesota became the latest U.S. state on Tuesday to restrict controversial weed killers made by Monsanto…”

Pine Bluff Commercial: “Arkansas has recently experienced higher wildfire frequency with November setting a record for the most fires in that month since November of 1989.” 

KPCC: Farm hands worked in Ventura County despite Thomas Fire

Daily Mail: California’s avocado crops worth millions of dollars are being destroyed…by wildfires

Associated Press: Some Texas farm-related woes linger months after Harvey

Insurance Journal: Uncertainty Hangs Over Florida Citrus Growers After Irma’s Damage

Michigan State University Extension: Global genetically modified crop acres increase

Arkansas: Little Rock based chain Dixie Cafe-Delta Cafe shutting down all 17 restaurants across three states, saying “We have seen declining sales combined with increasing costs that has made this difficult decision necessary.”

Arizona: In Scottsdale, Papago Brewing revealed on Facebook that the property it was located on was being demolished.  Turns out Papago Brewing outsourced their beer making operations anyway.  In Tucson, after 30 years Las Margaritas shutdown the day before Xmas, due to the owner selling off the property because the city is planning a road project that will impact the property.

California:  P.F.Changs suddenly shutdown its Burbank location, 74 jobs gone without warning one week before Xmas.  Switzerland based Nestlé issued a layoff WARN, 55 people in Oakland jobless by February 2018.  After 71 years the San Jose Tofu Company shutdown, the owners saying “The wear and tear started to catch up with us. It started to get to the point where our health is a lot more important than making as much money as possible.”  Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo reporting crashing donations, leaving Second Harvest with an $8-million USD budget shortfall for 2018!  In Studio City, after 70 years ‘classy’ Du Par’s shutdown, being replaced with a cosmetics store.  After 75 years iconic Twoheys Restaurant shutting down in Alhambra, by the end of January 2018, because the greedy landlords want more in rent money.  In Sunnyvale, after 35 years ‘private table’ Lion & Compass shutdown. In San Diego, Evolution Hospitality issued a layoff WARN, 41 jobs gone in February 2018.  Tyson Foods eliminating 40 jobs in February 2018.  Also in San Diego, after 25 years popular Rebecca’s Coffee House shutdown by the greedy landlords after they found a new tenant able to pay much more in rent: “I thought with all these years being in business, I wish there would have been some consideration on the rent, but no, they gave me a 15-day window to decide. This has become a lot more than a space to sell stuff. It’s my life and I’m losing my life!”-Rebecca Zearing

Colorado:  It’s been revealed that the state Department of Public Health and Environment has been dragging its feet on investigating an unnamed dairy farm for polluting the Big Thompson River.  State inspectors discovered two wastewater ponds leaking into the river back in November 2015.  A cease and desist order was issued back in March 2017.  State inspectors explained to local news media that the investigation is taking so long because they’re trying “…to developing an accurate and comprehensive case.”  In Fairfield, after 45 years Swanson’s Fish Market shutdown when the owner suddenly died just days after putting it up for sale.

Connecticut: In West Hartford, NoRA Cupcake Company announced on Facebook it will shutdown its Blue Back Square location after Xmas. Turns out the cupcake seller had planned on being in operation for only four months at that location, but lasted two years. NoRA Cupcake Company is being replaced by a tenant who was able to pay for a longer term lease.  Also in West Hartford, after 16 years Angelo’s shutdown, there are rumors that it will re-open under new ownership sometime in 2018.

Florida: In Orlando, after 52 years Rossi’s Pizza and Pasta shutdown, local news reports said the restaurant had been struggling ever since 2008.

Idaho:  25% of The Gem State’s ‘elected lawmakers’ are directly involved in the agriculture industry, according to Food Producers of Idaho.  Black Bear Diner, Chubbuck, IdahoWithout warning Black Bear Diner-Joby Management shutdown its less than two years old Chubbuck restaurant, telling local news media that if it wasn’t shutdown immediately they wouldn’t be able to issue final pay to the employees, as many as 57 jobs (depending on the local news source) suddenly gone one week before Xmas, a now pissed-off former employee Nathan Barney said “They called us in for a meeting at 8:30 this morning and told us they were closing the restaurant. They gave us unemployment papers and said Merry Christmas.”  Local news media speculated that there are too many restaurants in the area, including several other Joby Management owned restaurants. You can thank local politicians who’ve been enticing national chain restaurants to move into the area for several years now.

Illinois:  Martin’s IGA issue a shutdown WARN for its Effingham store, 275 jobs gone by January 2018 due to being sold-off!  In Northbrook, France based food service contractor Sodexo lost its contract with Allstate, 73 jobs gone by the end of January 2018.  Aspen Foods issued a shutdown WARN for its poultry slaughterhouse in Chicago, 199 jobs gone in February 2018!  After only one year WonFun and 2Fun Bar suddenly shutdown with no reason given, local news reports say the owners have a history of suddenly shutdown food/bar ops without notice.  After 13 years vegan Green Zebra shutdown and for sale. Also in Chicago, after 27 years Pegasus Restaurant shutdown.  Grace restaurant shutdown when all the employees walked out without warning, apparently in response to a failed attempt by the chefs to buy the restaurant from the current owner.  After five years Francesca’s Restaurant Group suddenly began shutting down all five Glazed and Infused donut shops the day after Xmas!  Local news reports say employees got no warning or severance. Francesca’s Restaurant Group also shutdown its restaurant Davanti Enotca in River North.   In West Dundee, Francesca’s Restaurant Group shutdown its 17 years old Campagna restaurant, without warning.  Local news media say city leaders were pissed about the shutdown because they had been working for several months with Francesca’s Restaurant Group on plans to expand the eatery!  The owner of Francesca’s Restaurant Group would only say that he is focusing on other ‘brands’.

Indiana: In Indianapolis, after five years B’s Po Boy announced on Facebook it will shutdown a couple of days before Xmas, blaming the cold Winter weather for lack of sales. Also in Indianapolis, after 138 years (surviving numerous recessions ans The Great Depression) Old Point Tavern sold-off to a chain restaurant owner so the the tavern owners could retire.  In Winfield, after 96 years John’s Tavern shutdown two days before Xmas, the property was sold to a hospital operator.  In West Lafayette, after three years grocery store Fresh City Market announced it will shutdown, shocked city officials claim they’ll do anything to stop it from happening.

Iowa: Link Snacks issued a WARN, 36 employees unemployed by February 2018.  In Cedar Rapids, after 32 years Sub City suddenly shutdown, the owner blamed it on crashing sales caused by major local employer Verizon conducting mass layoffs, but the final straw was when the historic building the sandwich shop was located in was sold-off to a greedy property developer who going to tear it down.  In Des Moines, after three years restaurant Streetcar 209 shutdown the week before Xmas.   In Sioux City, vandals destroyed the Wild Hill Honey bee farm, killing 500-thousand bees: “They knocked over every single hive, killing all the bees. They wiped us out completely. They broke into our shed, they took all our equipment out and threw it out in the snow, smashed what they could. Doesn’t look like anything was stolen, everything was just vandalized or destroyed.”- Justin Engelhardt

The state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship began a taxpayer funded three years program to subsidize the increased use of ‘cover crops’ and improve water quality: “There is no other incentive like this in the entire country, so we’re really happy that the state of Iowa is breaking ground on this new incentive.”-Aaron Lehman, Iowa Farmers Union

Kansas:  In Oakland Park, after 50 years John’s Space Age Donuts shutdown right before Xmas, after a failed attempt to sell it.  In Wichita, after 13 years Monterrey Mexican Grill shutdown.

Maryland: In Baltimore, after 13 years Metropolitan Coffeehouse & Wine Bar shutdown, saying on Facebook the “last few years have been difficult for our business, our city and our neighborhood.”  After eight years Firehouse Coffee shutdown.  After 40 years Goldman’s Kosher Bakery shutdown: “It’s a lot of work. My parents did it until they were 80, and we don’t want to do that….”-Leah Cohn, co-owner

After 40 years L’Academie de Cuisine shutdown without warning one week before Xmas: “Graduation was today. Doors are closing. Locks have been changed.”-unnamed former employee to local news media

Massachusetts:  Farmers Supply shutdown its Bernardston location after Xmas, the family owners explaining to loyal customers “Consolidation is what we’re doing to better ourselves, to be stronger. It’s tough out there.”  In Boston, after 25 years Maurizio’s Ristorante Italiano shutdown on Xmas Eve.  In Hadley, Zaskey Christmas Tree Farm reported that $9-hundred USD worth of Xmas trees were stolen over a two weeks period.

Michigan: In Paw Paw, Spiech Farms now chapter 11 bankrupt busted due to two bad harvests in a row, causing a $4-million USD crash in sales from 2016 through 2017.   Ric’s Food Center shutting down its 23 years old Hemlock location, local news media reported it was the only ‘hometown’ grocery store in Hemlock.

Minnesota: In Duluth, after a little more than a year ‘top-performing’ Northern Waters Restaurant shutdown, so the owners can focus on their more successful Smokehaus op.  For the first time in 32 years Summit Brewing suddenly laid off about ten people blaming skyrocketing competition within the ‘craft’ beer industry. Summit Brewing also canceled plans to expand operations into six other states.  One of the first restaurants in the Mall of America shutting down, after 25 years Tucci Benucch shutting down by February 2018.  Also in the Mall of America the Magic Pan Crepe Stand shutting down.  Tucci Benucch and Magic Pan Crepe Stand are both owned by Illinois based Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises.  Inver Grove Heights agricultural co-op CHS suddenly shutdown nasty-ass soy operations in Iowa, Kansas and Minnesota, more than 2-hundred jobs gone! 

Mississippi: Kroger shutting down its 30 years old Clarksdale grocery store, 1-hundred jobs gone with no reason given!

Missouri: Williams Sonoma shutting down its Country Club Plaza location in Kansas City, in January 2018, no reason given.  In Raytown, after 53 years Fun House Pizza & Pub shutdown after Xmas.  King Cash Saver shutdown its Mount Vernon grocery store saying that despite a decent volume of sales it’s not enough to keep up with the cost of the city supplied utilities, which is as much as 40% higher than other areas of the state (city officials swore to local news media that their utility rate was “competitive”).

Nebraska: In Lincoln, after ten years Bread&Cup shutdown, the disappointed owner saying “We gave it a shot, it just didn’t work.”  Nasty-ass soy protein (used in your frozen ‘meat’ foods and ‘real beef’ fast food burgers) maker CHS suddenly shutdown and is selling off its soy factory in South Sioux City, 65 jobs gone before Xmas.

New Mexico: After 20 years non-profit food pantry provider Santa Fe Community Farm shutdown its 2 hectare (five acre) farm, no reason given, but local news media speculated it’s related to the death of the non-profit’s founder.

New York: Innside New York NoMad shutting down its Food and Beverage Department and outsourcing 46 jobs by March 2018.  Mark’s Pizzeria shutdown two locations, one in Liverpool the other in Cicero, because they were “not profitable”, then announced dozens more Mark’s Pizzeria restaurants across The Empire State will shutdown due to the new state mandated minimum wage which affects any restaurant chain with 30 or more locations!  In Buffalo, after six years Ashker’s Juice Bar & Bistro announced on Facebook it is shutting down two locations, on Elmwood and on Main Street, apparently due to “changes” made to the streets.  In NYC, after five years Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar shutdown due to lack of sales after the worst restaurant review ever by The New York Times.  In Bowmansville, after 20 years ristorante Linguine’s shutdown, apparently because of the landlord because the owners stated on Facebook that they’re looking “newer and more modern location”.  In Massena, after 68 years the Village Inn shutdown, the owners saying “Restaurants are for the young.”, but adding that “It takes a village to keep a restaurant afloat.”

North Carolina: In Greensboro, The Traveled Farmer restaurant shutdown two days before Xmas, supposedly being replaced by a catering company.  Also in Greensboro, WP Kitchen + Bar shutdown because the landlord got a better offer for the property from another business.  In Chapel Hill, after 34 years Kitchenworks  shutdown its brick-n-mortar location, but will continue online.   Krispy Kreme Doughnuts laid off 90 HQ employees as part of a ‘global’ plan to move operations away from Winston-Salem.  The frustrated mayor said Krispy Kreme Doughnuts promised to keep its HQ in Winston-Salem.

North Dakota: British empire Canada based SunOpta shutting down its ‘organic’ food roasting ops in Wahpeton, 35 jobs gone by July 2018 due to consolidation operations.

Ohio: Cincinnati based food giant Kroger recalled six months worth of Comfort’s fluoridated bottled water for babies because of a fungal infestation. Talaromyces penicillium originated in southeast Asia and can be lethal. The bottled water was sold at Food 4 Less, Jay C, Jay C Food Plus, Kroger, Kroger Marketplace, Owen’s, Payless Super Market and Ruler.  In Hamilton, after three decades the Chinese Lantern shutdown.  In Columbus, upscale restaurant De Novo on the Park shutting down by the end of January 2018.  Fortune Chinese suddenly shutdown one of its two Columbus restaurants.  Also in Columbus, Udipi Cafe suddenly shutdown.  In Cleveland, iconic Massimo da Milano shutdown after 27 years, to be replaced by something called a ‘restaurant incubator’.

Oklahoma: In Lawton, after more than 75 years Johnson’s Bakery announced on Facebook that it will shutdown on Xmas Eve.

Oregon: In Portland, after three years Muscadine shutdown, the owner said she’s tired of making fried chicken.

Pennsylvania: In State College, both 85 years old All-American Rathskeller and 30 years old Spats Cafe shutdown due to the leases not being renewed, local news reports indicate the property is under new ownership.  In Wayne, after 50 years Landis Cafe shutdown so the owner can retire.  In Edwardsville, after 60 years Konefal’s Restaurant Catering shutting down in February 2018, so the third generation owners can retire.   After 199 years of producing food, and surviving numerous recessions and The Great Depression, the Stewart family farm could be shutdown because of a multi-state electricity power line project!  In Philadelphia, just short of six years and Industry Bar shutdown, on Facebook slyly blaming a “rapidly changing neighborhood”.  Restaurant supplier D&W Fine Pack issued a shutdown WARN for its Harfield operations, 180 jobs gone by March 2018!

South Carolina: Greer BBQ shutdown after 30 years, due to the owners’ ongoing health problems.

Tennessee: In Memphis, after 58 years iconic The Peanut Shoppe shutdown, the owners blamed increased costs, decreased sales and their age.  In Knoxville, after 76 years the last of the iconic Kay’s Ice Cream restaurants shutdown, local news media say at one time there were 158 Kay’s Ice Cream joints!  The owner of the last Kay’s reported that “Sales have been dropping for three years in a row. We’re literally working for nothing.”

Texas:  Coastal Cookies shutdown its 38 years old store in the Sunset Mall, the upset manager told local news media that the owners refused to give a reason for the shutdown.  In Austin, after 45 years Buck Moore Feed & Pet Supply shutting down by February 2018, the father and son owners say the amount of work they put into it isn’t worth it anymore.  After less than a year hand made pasta joint La Dolda shutdown, the owner blaming it on Texans’ lack of appreciation for real pasta.   After ten years Austin’s Flying Saucer Draught Emporium shutdown, the owner blames ‘elected’ lawmakers saying “The landscape of the restaurant industry is changing rapidly across the nation, and unfortunately, the Texas beer industry was introduced to topsy-turvy legislation…” 

Vermont: MyWebGrocer suddenly laid off 18 people, claiming its part of the company’s plan to expand.

Virginia: In Alexandria, after 15 years FireFlies shutdown on Xmas Eve, being replaced by a local competing restaurant.  In Hampton, decades old wine shop and deli La Bodega shutdown, due to crashing sales caused by the shutdown of a nearby taxpayer funded military base in 2011.  In Galax, after five years Scoots restaurant suddenly shutdown due to the owners wanting to suddenly retire.  In Richmond, after more than 26 years ristorante Amici shutdown a week before Xmas due to the owner selling the building: “There are too many restaurants and not enough people.”-Carlo Gaione

Washington: In Yakima County, an employee of a dairy farm was caught auctioning-off his employer’s cows as his own, according to records the employee almost got away with $30-thousand USD in false cow auctions, taking place since 2014!  In Seattle, Mama Stortini’s Restaurant & Bar in the Northgate Mall shutdown due to a norovirus outbreak, at least 15 customers sickened, county inspectors also discovered that 14 employees were sick.  Also in Seattle, after 47 years Bakeman’s Restaurant shutdown three days before Xmas, the owner swore to local news media that it’s because he wants to retire: “Business is still great! It’s actually the best it’s been in years.”-Jason Wang

Washington DC: Federal taxpayers forced to continue funding the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.   

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Ag Statistics Service issues a final crop report for 2017.

WARN=Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification

U.S. Food Crisis, November 2017: “SORRY FOLKS THE END HAS COME FOR THE PIG.”