By Morgan Bryce
Opelika’s Flowers Baking Co. will cease operations on Dec. 20, 2019, because of production inefficiencies and decreased volume, according to General Manager Michael Lord.
In a company statement, the announcement about the bakery’s closing was made known Monday to the bakery’s 146 employees. The closure affects only the bakery, as the bakery’s retail outlet located at 1502 2nd Ave. will remain in business.
“This was a very difficult decision because we know it affects our team members and because the bakery has been a part of Opelika since the 1930s. However, in the last few years, our volume has reduced significantly and in today’s changing and competitive environment, it’s necessary that the company channel production to more efficient, higher-speed bakeries,” Lord said in a statement. “We have an incredible team and we appreciate all their hard work and dedication. To assist during their transition, we’re providing a competitive severance package and offering job counseling and assistance through local and state agencies.”
Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller lamented the bakery’s closing, noting that the business has been a cornerstone of the city for decades.
“Flower’s Baking has been an iconic business in Opelika for (many) years. This company has provided good-paying jobs and has helped feed a lot of families, bought homes and educated children over this period of time … I’m sad to see this,” Flowers said. “Flowers and their great employees have been actively involved in our community at many different levels. We’re working with the company to help find jobs in our local economy. I understand that some will have an opportunity to be reassigned to other Flower’s facilities.”
Hotdog and hamburger buns and brown-and-serve rolls have been the bakery’s primary products. Further details in the statement noted that “these items will be made at other Flowers bakeries and will continue to be available in area stores.”