Jenny Lee Bakery to cease operations

by Eric Schroeder
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PITTSBURGH — Jenny Lee Bakery, a company that has been in the Pittsburgh area since 1875, announced it will close its two retail locations and shutter its bakery operations on Aug. 16.

"Tough economic times and intense volatility in the ingredient market have provided the final challenges that Jenny Lee Bakery can no longer overcome," Bernard Baker, president of Jenny Lee Bakery, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

According to the Tribune-Review, Jenny Lee Bakery’s problems date back to Thanksgiving Day in 2006, when a fire forced the bakery to close operations for more than four months. The company missed the busy holiday season that year and nearly half of its 100-employee workforce and clientele left for competitors.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Jenny Lee operated 14 retail locations, and by the 1980s and 1990s had begun supplying fresh baked foods to supermarkets. The company also opened a commercial bakery with gourmet cinnamon swirl bread and distributed the product in area stores, according to the Tribune-Review.

In closing up shop, Jenny Lee Bakery becomes the latest in a growing number of smaller, yet long-standing baking companies that have been forced to shut down amid extreme volatility in the ingredients market. In late July, Gerards Bakery and Jones Bakeries both closed, and Crawfords Bakery plans to shut down in late September.

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