(AAron Hutchins) Incomplete list of announced United States food supply shutdowns for the month of May, 2015: 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, and spread of disease.
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is alive and well, destroying food for humans, and other animals! About 5-thousand U.S. beekeepers reported losing 42% of their bees from April 2014 to April 2015! For the same time period of 2013-14 they lost 34%! A group of universities and research laboratories (called Bee Informed Partnership) have been keeping track since 2010, this past year has been the worst bee die-off they’ve seen. As a group, individual and industrial farmers spend almost $15-billion USD per year using honey bees to pollinate the crops they grow. Without that, not enough fruit will develop. As I’ve written in the past, the researchers blame lack of food for the bees (the pollen they eat is lacking in nutritional value, which will also affect us humans), pesticide and GMO use (no thanks to companies like Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, Dow Chemical and many others) and disease carrying parasites.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirms more than 38-million birds in 15 states are infected with H5N2 influenza virus! This number is not up to date, as at the state level various state health administrators are already reporting far more than than have already died, or been culled! USDA also stated that H5 viruses have adapted to wild birds, implying that it originated with domestic poultry not the other-way-round. Because of that adaption USDA employees expect the devastating H5 epidemic to last until spring 2016.
Arizona: More trouble for Texas based Blue Bell ice cream maker. Blue Bell Creameries is closing three Grand Canyon State distribution centers, more than 1-hundred jobs lost! In Phoenix, after 59 years iconic Bill Johnson’s Big Apple restaurant shutdown, 32 jobs lost. It’s being turned into a parking lot for the worthless taxpayer supported GateWay Community College! Also in Phoenix, the Downtown Deli shutdown by a greedy landlord jacking up the rent. One of the co-owners, Glenn Schultz, said the bad economy doesn’t make it worth it saying “For 45 minutes a day we’re busy, but I pay rent 24 hours a day. Others are willing to pay more than we are, and good luck to them.” In Scottsdale, after 60 years the iconic Pinnacle Peak Patio steak restaurant will shutdown in June. Evil property speculators are tearing it down and replacing it with residential houses. Also in the same area, the 40 years old Greasewood Flat restaurant and bar being shutdown to make room for housing development. In Mesa, after 34 years Landmark Restaurant shutdown, the building was sold to a company that specializes in weddings.
California: In Modesto, vegetable processor Olam issued a shutdown WARN for their Spices & Vegetables operation, saying their remaining 65 employees will become jobless in July. That’s on top of the 177 people laid off in December 2014! Olam administrators stated “We’ve had sales diminish and costs continue to rise.” Fruit distributor Fruit Patch issued a WARN saying they’re shutting down their Dinuba operations in July, 132 jobs lost! Local news reports blame the vulture capitalist owners, American Capital, saying there are unconfirmed reports that Fruit Patch assets are being sold off (American Capital administrators refused to talk to local reporters). Perhaps the decision to shut it down was pushed by the decades long drought, which has adversely affected fruit production? The shutdown will affect 10-thousand grocery/retail stores across the U.S.! T.G.I. Friday’s issued a shutdown WARN for its La Jolla restaurant, 54 jobs lost in June. In La Mirada, Switzerland based frozen bakery products seller Aryzta issued a shutdown WARN, saying 131 people will become jobless at the beginning of July! Aryzta became the World’s largest bakery after taking over bakeries in Germany and the U.S. in 2014. In San Bernardino, after 67 years the owners of The Mug restaurant announced it will shutdown in June. Loyal customers call it “a huge icon”. Local news reports said the owner would not explain why it was being shutdown, but employees explained that the area has been losing businesses for several years now, and that’s negatively impacted the number of people that check out the restaurant (in other words, sales have crashed). In Duarte, Kroger announced they will shutdown their Ralph’s grocery store on Huntington Drive, in July, about 50 jobs lost. Kroger administrators claim the store has “failed to perform” for years. News reports say Cerberus-AB Acquisition controlled Albertsons-Safeway announced two Vons in Fresno will shutdown in June, 127 jobs lost! However, I found shutdown WARNs for three, not two, Fresno Vons totaling 2-hundred jobs lost! Albertsons-Safeway also issued yet another layoff WARN for Safeway’s Pleasanton HQ, saying an additional 28 people will be let go in July. In Santa Maria, Coco’s Bakery Restaurant shutdown due to being sold to a competitor. The employees discovered that management threw all the employee data into a dumpster (instead of destroying the data) on the same day they were laid off: “To give everything that you have and just like that, they treat you like a piece of trash that’s it, go, you know, it feels bad.”-Elvia Calderon
Colorado: Cerberus-AB Acquisition controlled Albertsons-Safeway announced 10 Safeway stores across Colorado will shutdown, hundreds of jobs lost by June!
Connecticut: In Milford, Uno Pizzeria and Grill shutdown without warning.
Florida: Darden Restaurants laid off 30 people at their Orlando HQ. They laid off employees last year as well. Administrators say the economy is forcing them to “streamline”. Darden operates Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, Eddie V’s Prime Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52 and Bahama Breeze. In Tampa, US Foods issued a shutdown WARN saying 206 people will become jobless by August! The company is consolidating ops and is trying to merge with rival Sysco. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is challenging the merger. In Jacksonville, after 30 years Benny’s Sandwich Shop shutdown due to the owner’s health problems.
Georgia: In Augusta, after 35 years Ming Yat Chinese Restaurant shutdown.
Hawaii: The Lawai Menehune Food Mart shutdown. The owner said he couldn’t renew the lease.
Illinois: In Quincy, tire maker Titan International announced they must kill 60 jobs due to volatile currency markets and crashing sales to the farmer’s markets: “North America large agriculture is down approximately 35 percent, and we believe it will remain that way for the balance of 2015…..Titan’s first quarter sales were below our internal plan, but well over half of the decrease was due to currency impacts from Europe, South America, Russia and Australia.”
Iowa: In Sioux City, after 73 years farm equipment maker Soo Tractor Sweep-Rake is shutting down, 53 jobs lost. Company administrators blame crashing farm equipment sales. State health administrators report four more H5N2 outbreaks. News reports say Iowa’s poultry industry has lost nearly 24-million birds (and that’s just laying hens), so far!
Kansas: In Wichita, after 20 years Garcia’s Tacos shutdown.
Louisiana: In Lafayette, after more than 40 years the owners of Whole Wheatery Eatery announced they will shutdown in June. Owners Jean Goodman blame the landlord for jacking up the rent and “We’ve had poor sales for the past year. We’ve noticed an exodus of offices, just vacancies of offices and lots of for rent signs in the area.” In Metairie, a greedy landlord shutdown the 38 years old Tiffin Inn Pancake House. The property owner signed a new contract with a home decor chain store.
Maryland: In Baltimore, after less than two years the Shoo-Fly Diner is about to shutdown, the owner is trying to work a deal to keep the place open during summer. Critics have written that the food isn’t that good.
Massachusetts: In the state of Boston Weak, after nearly 50 years the owner of Taunton’s Benjamin restaurant went chapter 7 bankrupt busted and laid off 1-hundred employees without warning! It sounds like it was caused by a family feud that ended up in court. The property is now for sale. In Cambridge, the award winning Hungry Mother restaurant being shutdown in July due to one of the co-owners leaving, and the other co-owners deciding to try something else.
Michigan: In Northville, the owners of Riffle’s Homestyle Kitchen announced it will shutdown in June. After 31 years they said they’ve finally realized you can’t provided quality food while competing against the low prices of ‘Big Box’ restaurants, so “Rather than cut corners or raise prices, we’ve elected to move on to other endeavors.” In Flint, after 29 years Salvatore Scallopini restaurant shutdown without warning by the greedy landlord and city administrators, 28 jobs affected. Unbeknownst to the restaurant operator, the landlord and the city council agreed to replace the Italian restaurant with a shitty IHOP: “I was stunned! It just kind of happened and everyone found out.”-Bill Nivicki, restaurant operator
Minnesota: H5N2 causes Jennie-O Turkey to layoff 233 people at its poultry processing factory in Faribault! H5N2 causing Rembrandt Enterprises egg farm to layoff 39 employees in Renville. At this point 88 poultry farms are affected, 5.76-million birds lost (and not all farms have reported their losses)! The Minnesota Board of Animal Health wants the state fair, and all county fairs, to ban poultry! The University of Minnesota reports that H5N2 is possibly airborne! Air samples collected near four poultry barns turned up positive for the avian flu: “Our results indicated that influenza genetic material can be detected in air samples collected inside and immediately outside of infected poultry facilities. We still don’t know whether virus was viable or not, and those analyses are in progress. So far we have shown that HPAI [highly pathogenic avian influenza] can be aerosolized from infected facilities.”-Montse Torremorell
Montana: In Helena, after 32 years The Donut Hole shutdown once and for all. Back in January the owner tried to find funding to help him move the store to a new location but nothing panned out, so the donut shop was sold to property speculators from Utah who claim they will turn it into a coffee shop.
Nebraska: USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirms 1.7-million egg laying chickens affected by H5N2 in Dixon County!
Nevada: In Reno, Scolari’s Food & Drug announced they will shutdown their Sharlands Avenue East store in June: “We have struggled at this location since it opened because of the downturn…..because of the economics of our lease…..”
New Jersey: Cereal maker Post is shutting down their Parsippany HQ in May, and moving it to Minnesota. Administrators say 2-hundred jobs around the country will be affected!
New York: Empire State based Burger King franchisee Carrols Restaurant Group announced they will shutdown 25 restaurants, as their leases expire. This is strange because Carrols administrators reported an 11.5% increase in sales at their Burger Kings. Administrators say the restaurants they’re shutting down just didn’t make enough money to satisfy them. In Long Island, Krinos Foods issued a WARN saying they are moving to Bronx in August, taking 70 Long Island jobs with them. In Sullivan County the largest employer in the county, Ideal Snacks, began laying off employees, however, local news reports say most of those employees turned out to be illegal migrant workers! In 2012 administrators swore they were employing U.S. citizens at $13 per hour. They made these statements in an attempt to get tax breaks. Local news reports say Ideal Snacks administrators are ignoring their questions about the “large number” of layoffs. In Jamaica, milk products distributor Derle Farms issued a shutdown WARN saying they are moving operations to Bathpage by September, 72 employees will be affected. Lackmann Culinary Services issued a WARN saying they’ve lost their contract with Stony Brook University’s Kelly Dining Center, 386 jobs lost by the end of June!
North Carolina: After 80 years Captain Bill’s Waterfront Restaurant shutdown in Morehead City. In Winston-Salem, after almost four years District Roof Top Bar & Grille shutdown, the owners blame the un-recovered economy: “It takes time, resources and a bit of luck to establish a restaurant. In our case it was just one winter season too many.”-Mark Skoggard, co-owner
Pennsylvania: In Deptford, the owners of 37 years old Freeway Diner announced it will shutdown on Memorial Day. The property is being re-purposed as a strip mall. In Sunbury, 68 years old Pop Snyder’s restaurant shutdown. The corporate owner (RAS Bar) said the restaurant was not making enough money, even after they spent big bucks remodeling the eatery in 2014.
Ohio: In Mansfield, after 59 years the owners of Weidle’s Meats and Delicatessen announced they will shutdown in June. It’s been up for sale since October 2014. In Dayton, after 23 years China Royal restaurant shutdown. The property owner blamed a grease fire as being the final straw, implying that the old buildings in Dayton need to be updated to prevent such fires.
South Carolina: After 95 years (surviving the Great deflationary Depression and numerous recessions) Pruitt’s Grocery shutdown due to the owner’s poor health.
South Dakota: The National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirms H5N2 affecting 1.3-million poultry in Flandreau! The area makes up half of all egg laying poultry in The Mount Rushmore State!
Texas: In San Antonio, specialty grocery store Gaucho Gourmet shutdown. It will continue to sell on the internet. You knew it had to be, if you recall 100% of your product and shutdown all your food processing factories layoffs are inevitable. Brenham based ice cream maker Blue Bell Creameries is now killing off 1,450 jobs, plus furloughing another 1,400 employees, plus reducing pay and hours for the 1,050 employees who will remain working, for a grand total of 3,900 jobs affected! (the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that ice cream made by Blue Bell has contained listeria for at least five years, beginning in 2010!)
Virginia: Artfully Chocolate bistro shutdown. Everything is being sold in an internet auction. Another Artfully Chocolate was shutdown in 2014. In Richmond, MARTIN’S Food Markets announced they will shutdown their 42 years old store on Staples Mill Road, in July. They claim “the store has not achieved performance goals.” MARTIN’s bought the store from Ukrop in 2010. In Orange, after 19 years the Dairy Korner Restaurant shutdown.
Washington: In Spokane, without warning the 25 years old Olive Garden restaurant shutdown by owner Darden Restaurants, 80 jobs lost overnight. Local news reports said Darden Restaurants administrators accused the Spokane Olive Garden of failing to perform.
Wisconsin: State health administrators report finding dead owls, which tested positive for H5N2. Food processor ConAgra announced it is shutting down its Ripon cookie factory by the end of the year, at least 3-hundred jobs lost! The associated Rippin’ Good Cookie Outlet Store will also be shutdown.
WARN=Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification