Canadian company to purchase Koffee Kup Bakery, Vermont Bread Company
BURLINGTON, Vermont (WCAX) – A Canadian company has announced plans to buy Vermont’s Koffee Kup bakery, which closed suddenly last month due to financial problems.
Ms Dunster’s Bakery, based in New Brunswick, Canada, announced Thursday that it will purchase all of the assets of the Koffee Kup bakery, including the Vermont Bread Company in Brattleboro.
According to a press release, the owners have formed a new company called the North Atlantic Baking Company and plan to resume operations in the near future. The plan is to continue marketing the same baked goods that made the company a household name across New England under the Koffee Kup and Vermont Bread Company brands.
Ms Dunster’s co-owner Blair Hyslop says they want to take over as many employees as possible, but won’t be able to hire everyone on day one, so they’re currently developing a process. âCertainly anyone who has worked for Koffee Kup or Vermont Bread and who is aligned with our values ââas a family owned and operated business will have the opportunity to work here,â said Hyslop.
As for the hundreds if not thousands of dollars in PTO that employees say they have lost, Ms Dunster’s says they are legally beyond their control. Hyslop says the lawsuits are against Koffee Kup – not Mrs Dunster’s – so it’s not legally their case to resolve. “We are not really in a position to comment on this,” he said.
Hyslop says he sympathizes with employees who are fighting for their money, but he wants to focus on the future, not the past.
But some former workers like Gary Pasquale, who spoke with WCAX when Koffee Kup closed a few weeks ago, are not ready to move forward with the company. “I don’t know. I would have to be sternly convinced to go back there. It would take a lot of motivation,” Pasquale said.
He says that before committing, he wants to be reassured about job security. âThey can shut down unexpectedly. No warning, “he said.” You go to work and you are told ‘Oh come back tomorrow and that night on the news they announced they were closed. It’s kind of a filthy move in my eyes. They knew what was going on and didn’t let anyone know.
Hyslop says about 100 former employees have expressed an interest in working for Ms Dunster’s. But to those who hesitate, he says this family business will do things differently. âWe’re not driven by the things that motivate private equity firms or large corporations. We put a lot of emphasis on our values, culture and business goals to deliver fresh baked goods to consumers. – business owned and operated, âhe said.
An employee sent WCAX the âwelcomeâ email Ms. Dunster’s team sent to former Koffee Kup employees. The email included an invitation from the Hyslops to attend a virtual meeting on Friday to review the company’s purpose, values ââand work culture.
Economic development officials say the deal is great news for the region. âThe alternative could have been for a company to just come and liquidate the equipment and sell the assets as a real estate investment, and what excites us the most is the commitment of all the different parties to really seek out people looking to be operators and it looks like that’s where we’re headed, âsaid Adam Grinold of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation.
The sale price was not disclosed. North Atlantic Baking is actively negotiating a rental agreement during the term of the sale. Ms. Dunster’s Bakery already delivers fresh baked goods across Canada and Maine. The purchase will expand the company’s reach across New England while keeping the well-known Vermont brands on the shelves. They plan to sell a Connecticut factory owned by Koffee Kup.
The two-year goal is to bring back more than 180 employees to the two factories in Vermont. The company applied for and received a grant from the Vermont Employment Growth Initiative of the Vermont Economic Progress Council.
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