Hostess to close Decatur bun plant

by Eric Schroeder
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IRVING, TEXAS — Hostess Brands, Inc. on Aug. 22 said it will close its single line bakery in Decatur, Ill., on Oct. 22 due to “current market conditions and necessary operations efficiencies.” The bakery, which employs 65 and has been in operation since 1920, makes hot dog and hamburger buns under the Butternut and Wonder brands.

In announcing the closing, Hostess cited changes in local market conditions and the recent loss of a significant co-packing contract. The company said it will continue to serve area customers without interruption sourcing bread products from other bakeries in the central Illinois region. In addition to Decatur, Hostess’ other Illinois bakeries are located at Hodgkins, Peoria and Schiller Park.

“While it is always a difficult decision to close one of our facilities, we must carefully evaluate all options and take prudent steps to make our system more efficient and balance productivity and demand,” said Brian Driscoll, chief executive officer. “I want to thank our employees for their years of service and dedication. We deeply regret the impact this will have on our employees and their families.”

The 43,000-square-foot bakery was built in 1920 as Conklin Bakery. It was sold to Purity Baking Co. of Decatur in 1946, where it baked Sunbeam products. Interstate Brands acquired the bakery in 1986, and nine years later, in 1995, I.B.C. merged with Continental Baking Co., at which point the Federal Trade Commission forced the companies to divest the Sunbeam brand. Since 1995 the bakery has baked buns and rolls for the Butternut and Wonder label and contract customers.

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