Aunt Millie’s will close its Fort Wayne bakery and consolidate operations at six other Midwest locations.
The phased closing will begin this month and be completed by April. About 91 bakery employees will be affected. Aunt Millie’s headquarters, with about 120 administrative employees, will remain in Fort Wayne.
Company leaders informed employees of the closing today, and said they would work with the bakery union to offer transitional assistance to those affected.
“Due to the current business environment and after undertaking a capacity and logistical analysis, we determined we need to close our Fort Wayne bakery,” John Popp, company president, said in an emailed statement. “This is a critical step in reducing excess capacity and costs, to allow ourselves to maintain our leadership position in the baking industry. We reached this extremely difficult but necessary decision after thoroughly exploring other options.”
Aunt Millie’s and Sunbeam products will continue to be made at the other six bakeries.
The company has been family-owned since 1901. The current president is the grandson of the company founder, John Franke, who started the Wayne Biscuit Co. The company was later renamed Perfection Biscuit Co., and many years after that, renamed Aunt Millie’s.
Franke, who was killed in a car accident in 1927, donated the 80-acre farm that became the city’s Franke Park.
The famous Perfection rolling bread sign atop the bakery building, which faces Main Street, has become a downtown landmark.
Company-wide, Aunt Millie’s employs 1,600 people.