Byline: Peter P. Donker
WORCESTER - The sweet smell of freshly baked bread that greets motorists driving by the John J. Nissen Baking Co. Inc. on Quinsigamond Avenue will soon become a thing of the past.
The bakery, which for 53 years has operated in a large red-brick building near Brosnihan Square, will close in early June with a loss of 110 jobs.
The closing was announced by Interstate Bakeries Corp. of Kansas City, Mo., the parent company. It came three months after Interstate completed the purchase of the John J. Nissen Baking Co. of Portland, Maine, of which the Worcester bakery was a part.
Interstate spokesman Mark D. Dirks said the closing was for economic reasons. He said production would be transferred to another Interstate bakery in Natick. "The economics of the operation were such that the Natick facility could produce bread more efficiently," Dirks said.
After the Worcester bakery closes, the Natick bakery will supply the Worcester area.
In Worcester, Nissen also operates a thrift store at the Quinsigamond Avenue bakery and one at 205 Chandler St. Both stores will continue to operate.
The Worcester bakery specializes in white and wheat pan breads. It employs about 110, of whom 87 are members of the Bakery, Confectionary and Tobacco Workers International Union, Local 50 in East Brunswick, N.J. Members range from mechanics and shippers to bakers.
James J. Lair, the local's president, said he will meet with management in a week or so to work out a severance package.
With Nissen building a large plant in Biddeford, Maine, Lair said he was not surprised by the closing announcement, except that it came a year or so sooner than he expected.
Interstate spokesman Dirks said that to the extent possible, the company will make jobs available to employees at Interstate's Wonder Hostess bakery in Natick.
Besides the bakery workers, Nissen also employs about 100 drivers who are members of Local 170 of the Teamsters union. They work out of two Nissen distribution sites, on Ballard Street in Worcester and Crawford Street in Fitchburg. Both distribution centers are supplied by the Worcester bakery and other bakeries in the Nissen and Interstate...