The last loaves rolled out on Thursday, January 20, and now the Wonder Bread bakery in Jamaica is no more, leaving approximately 200 plant and transport employees without jobs.
But City Councilmember Leroy Comrie stepped in to help, organizing a job fair at the site before it closed.
“There is employment out there,” said Comrie. “We’ll do everything we can to show them employment opportunities.”
The councilmember did note that a lot of the potential employers were offering lower salaries, but that there “are a lot of companies in the city doing niche marketing and companies looking for skilled help.”
Hostess, which purchased the property in 1995, said that the facility, built in the 1870s, was in need of modernization, “an undertaking that would be difficult and expensive given the age and configuration of the plant.”
The bakery is a 100,000-square-foot facility located at 168-23 Douglas Avenue. It was originally operated as Shults Bread Company and sold to William Ward’s United Bakeries in 1921. The company was renamed Continental Baking Co. in 1925. Seventy years later, in 1995, the business was purchased by Interstate Bakeries Corporation, now Hostess Brands, Inc. The bakery produced Wonder Bread Classic and other Wonder varieties, Beefsteak Breads, and Home Pride varieties as well as private label breads.
“It is always a difficult decision to close one of our facilities, but during this slow economic recovery, we must carefully evaluate all options and take prudent steps to make our system more efficient and balance productivity and demand,” said Hostess Chief Executive Officer Brian Driscoll. “We 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. We are committed to making this transition as smooth as possible.”
The site is currently for sale, reportedly with CB Richard Ellis. For the present time, the Jamaica bakery outlet store and administrative and distribution offices remain open for business and will move to new locations in the area when the current site is sold.
Comrie told The Courier he would like to see another food manufacturer move in to the location.

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