Penn Traffic to close Penny Curtiss baking operation

by Eric Schroeder
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Penn Traffic Co. on Wednesday said it is closing its Penny Curtiss commercial bakery operation, effective immediately. The move is part of Penn Traffic’s strategy for improving the company’s long-term financial performance and further focusing its resources on enhancing the in-store experience for its customers.

"This decision was very difficult, particularly because it affects a number of dedicated, long-term employees," said Gregory J. Young, president and chief executive officer. "Penny Curtiss Bakery has been a part of Central New York for over four decades. But after exhausting efforts to replace lost volume, and facing prohibitive modernization costs, we made this difficult decision."

According to Penn Traffic, Penny Curtiss has been hurt by nationwide overcapacity in the baking industry, and was contributing less than 4% of Penn Traffic’s total annual revenue. In August, Penny Curtiss lost a significant contract to supply Aldi grocery stores with fresh-baked goods.

The Penny Curtiss closing will affect approximately 160 positions.

Going forward, Mr. Young said the decision to close Penny Curtiss will enable Penn Traffic — which employs a total of more than 7,700 people company-wide, with more than 2,400 employees in Syracuse — to focus on its core store portfolio and wholesale operations.

"In recent months we’ve devoted resources to key locations, enhancing their appearance and improving customers’ overall shopping experience," he said. "We expect to continue and accelerate that process in our core store portfolio during 2008 and beyond."

In addition to Penny Curtiss, Penn Traffic operates 103 supermarkets in Pennsylvania, upstate New York, Vermont and New Hampshire under the BiLo, P&C and Quality trade names.

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