Incomplete list of announced United States food supply shutdowns for the month of October, 2016: 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.
California: Treehouse Foods ( Treehouse Private Brands) issued a shutdown WARN for their Azusa food factory, 647 jobs gone right after Thanksgiving! In Fresno, Sierra Food Group issued a layoff WARN, 46 jobs gone after Thanksgiving. Also in Fresno, after 93 years Louie Kee Market shutdown so the tired owner can “…do some traveling, some fishing, and maybe a little casino work.” Kroger owned Ralph’s issued a shutdown WARN for a grocery store in Los Angeles, 87 jobs gone after Xmas. After 38 years San Diego based Garden Fresh-Souplantation-Sweet Tomatoes now chapter 11 bankrupt busted and shutting down as many as 30 restaurants. The restaurant chain owner, Garden Fresh, has been up for sale for some time. Escondido-based Stone Brewing suddenly laid off as many as 60 people “…due to an unforeseen slowdown in our consistent growth and changes in the craft beer landscape.” Research by two universities has revealed that the typical marijuana farm in northern Cali is contributing to the demise of Salmon and Trout: “…the sites are typically placed on remote plots of land in forested areas, many on steep slopes. Access roads need to be created and swaths of land cleared for production, regardless of whether the cannabis is grown outdoors or in a greenhouse; that increases potential for soil erosion and chemical run-off into streams in which the Chinook salmon and steelhead trout live.”
Colorado: Albertsons-Safeway shutting down their grocery store on Pueblo’s east side right before Thanksgiving. News reports say its the second Pueblo Safeway to shutdown this year.
Connecticut: Greenwood Village based Red Robin suddenly shutdown nine of its 12 experimental fast casual restaurants, mainly in Illinois (see below), calling the experiment an economic failure.
Delaware: Berri Yummi Frozen Yogurt shutdown as the owners refused to renew the lease because “It did not make economic sense…”
Florida: In Pensacola, Sluggo’s shutdown due to a “…long battle with the landlord over power in the building.” In Miami, British empire owned Miller Brewing (SABMiller) suddenly laid off 104 people, then issued the required WARN three days after the fact!
Idaho: Instant potatoes maker Basic American Ingredients issued a WARN for their Blackfoot ops, 91 additional jobs gone. The Blackfoot potato factory was sold to Basic American Ingredients back in February 2013, and 103 people lost their jobs just three months later.
Illinois: Fake sweetener maker Merisant shutting down their Equal factory in Manteno, 86 jobs lost. The company is moving to Kansas because the cost of labor is apparently cheaper than the $16 to $24 per hour they pay employees in Illinois. Colorado based burger joint Red Robin suddenly shutdown all five of its Chicago area experimental ‘fast casual’ restaurants, including two that had been opened just in the past six months!
Indiana: After only two years donut shop Rocket 88 shutdown its only two locations; Fountain Square and the other in South Broad Ripple. The owner said he’s pursuing his dream of owning a record shop. In Indianapolis, O’Malia’s Food Market shutting down their South Meridian Street store by November. According to local news reports the shutdown will leave the local grocery chain (started in 1966) with only one store. Paradise Bakery & Cafe shutdown its last store, news reports say at one time there were a dozen Paradise Bakery & Cafes. AGWEB reports that farmers are being forced to pay cash upfront for rent, causing many farmers to quit: “We’d been previously farming on shares….when this lease was up, the owner wanted to go to a cash rent. We felt it was just in an area where we couldn’t survive long-term.”-Jason Wykoff, farmer for 22 years
Kansas: In Haysville, Taco J’s suddenly shutdown after 34 years, their Facebook page said “With the cost of product going up we are not comfortable with the prices we need to charge to stay profitable.”
Kentucky: In Louisville, BBQ joint Smoketown USA shutdown after nine years, the owner called it a “success”. In Lexington, after 83 years Fayette Seed shutdown, the retiring owners blame it on a radical change in home gardening.
Massachusetts: Boston based Boloco sold-off nine of their restaurants to a competitor, some will be shutdown due to lack of sales. In Worcester, Sakura Tokyo shutdown pending the sale of the restaurant property. In Somerville, Spoke Wine Bar shutting down just days before Xmas, due to the owner’s health problems.
Michigan: In South Lyon, Brown’s Root Beer & Sandwich Shop shutdown after 56 years.
Minnesota: Heartland Restaurant & Wine Bar shutting down and selling-off its original 14 years old location in Saint Paul.
Missouri: In Saint Joseph, the Apple Market shutting down in November, the owners cry “..the current market conditions and incoming competition, we see no alternative but to cease operations.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigating the improper use of the Monsanto made herbicide Dicamba. The herbicide is for use before planting, or after harvest, only. Missouri farmers complained that somebody sprayed their crops with the herbicide, damaging at least 16,600 hectares (41-thousand acres)!
Montana: After “34 years of… hard creative work” John Bozeman’s Bistro suddenly shutdown days after filing chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Nebraska: Omaha’s Alchemy Bar & Grill shutdown, the operators saying only that the action was “sudden and unplanned”.
New Mexico: In Las Cruces, after 11 years popular Si Italian Bistro shutdown, the owners blaming increasing costs of operations, especially building maintenance costs.
New York: It was revealed that Larchmont based Natural Markets Food Group-Mrs. Green’s Natural Market quietly shutdown four stores across the country, since 2015. Local news reports say inventories at other stores are not being restocked and plans to open 1-hundred new stores are now dead. Company administrators are refusing to explain. In Buffalo, Century Grill shutdown due to the greedy landlord selling the property out from under the restaurant owner’s feet. In Rochester, Mex Restaurant shutdown after 17 years. In Ithaca, after five years Smart Yogurt shutting down right before Xmas. In Fayetteville, after only one year Kandied Kernal shutdown: “It’s a combination of high rent, and not enough business.”-Melissa Kelly, owner
North Carolina: Golden Corral suddenly shutdown their New Bern all-you-can-eat buffet, more than 50 jobs gone. Local news media said employees told them it was due to crashing sales.
North Dakota: In Medina, fire destroyed the Diamond W Feed main grinding operations for area livestock.
Ohio: In Sylvania, Anderson’s Market shutting down right before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, 96 jobs gone due to sales not being able to cover costs.
Oregon: Farmers Insurance issued a layoff WARN for Hillsboro, 50 jobs lost right after Xmas.
Pennsylvania: In Palmyra, after six years popular Top That Restaurant shutdown, not because of low sales but because the owners could not find a new bigger, and affordable, location. O’Hara based grocery chain Giant Eagle announced it will force as many as 350 corporate HQ employees to quit by offering voluntary buyouts! It’s blamed on declining profits.
South Carolina: Brown Roof Coffee shutdown, the operators say it became too expensive to operate, and the operators of Brown Roof Thrift say it was interfering with their thrift store business.
Tennessee: In Mount Juliet, after ten years Marble Slab Creamery suddenly shutdown, due to the greedy landlord refusing to renew the lease: “They were not interested in renewing our lease…..The thing that took me off guard was the lack of communication and telling us why.”-Carey Hook, operator
Restaurant Krystal shutting down their Green Hills location due to pending road construction. Memphis based Ag info ‘expert’ Informa Economics IEG predicts U.S. grain exports will set a record 150-million to 180-million bushels this year, despite all the bad news affecting farmers. But they also had this warning: “If we’re not going to keep investing in our system and we’re not investing high enough nor efficient enough, we’re going to have challenges to really be a competitive, long-term player in the market.”-Ken Eriksen
Texas: Lubbock based Rita Restaurant Group-Don Pablo’s now chapter 11 bankrupt busted. At one point there were 120 Don Pablo’s restaurants, but news reports say there are now only 12. In Houston, after 14 years Ponzo’s Italian Food shutdown. In San Angelo, TJ’s Frozen Yogurt shutdown their store on North Bryant due to “Not enough income…” In Austin, Brass House shutdown, the owner blaming the “…rising tide of the downtown Austin rental market, lack of free parking and unforeseen circumstances.” After 111 years, Dallas based Sigel’s Beverages now chapter 11 bankrupt busted and shutting down five stores. It’s blamed on increasing competition caused by more ‘dry christian’ Texas municipalities going ‘wet’ (in order to increase local tax revenues). Dallas based Fiesta Restaurant Group revealed it suddenly shutdown 10 Pollo Tropical restaurants, and will convert three Pollo Tropicals to Taco Cabana restaurants, after a loss of $4.8-million USD! Also, administrators suddenly halted all expansion plans and are reportedly prepping to sell everything off!
Virginia: In Fredericksburg, after 35 years commercial bankers confirmed to local news that Sammy T’s was sold. The restaurant manager said it will shutdown pending plans of the new owners. In Rocky Mount, Bootleggers Cafe shutdown, 20 jobs gone because the restaurant “…could not live up to our market potential…” In Cornerstone, after two years Auburnlea Farms Corner Market shutdown because “…it didn’t work out…”
Washington: Craft Brew Alliance suddenly laid off “at least a dozen” Redhook brewery employees, due to crashing contracts for beer from Pabst Brewing Company. In Seattle, after 46 years The Old Spaghetti Factory shutting down right before Xmas, due to the property being sold to developers. Healthy Options food maker issued a shutdown WARN for its Wenatchee ops, 66 jobs lost by January 2017. Ocean Beauty Seafoods shutting down its Seattle ops, 69 jobs lost right after Xmas.
Washington DC: A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found cancer causing chromium-6 (hexavalent chromium) in most of the public drinking water, affecting 200-million people across the country (Including where I live in Bannock County, Idaho. Maybe it’s a good thing the city shutoff my public water supply back in March, due to not being able to pay their newly imposed late fees). The study ran from 2013 to 2015, with more than 75% of water samples showing contamination.
Wisconsin: In Milwaukee, Lucille’s suddenly shutdown. After 45 years John Hawk’s Pub shutdown due to not being able to renew the lease.
Wyoming: Western Sugar shutting down their Torrington operation, 86 jobs gone as the co-op consolidates production to Colorado. After several decades the Ghost Town Restaurant shutdown, at least eight jobs lost due to two years of crashing sales.
WARN=Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification
September 2016: IT’S OFFICIAL; MORE THAN HALF OF U.S. FARM WORKERS ARE ILLEGAL! FARMERS ARE THE BIGGEST WELFARE PROGRAM?