Company acts swiftly to adjust to COVID-19 business losses; shifts to take-out only at four remaining Portland cafes
PORTLAND AND SEATTLE – Hit with financial losses related to the COVID-19 virus, Grand Central Bakery has temporarily closed five of its 12 cafes and eliminated 150 jobs across the company. Grand Central Bakery employed 460 in Seattle and Portland at the start of 2020.
The closures and layoffs were done “to stabilize the company and give us the best chance of staying in business,” says CEO Claire Randall, a 27-year employee of the bakery. Newly closed locations include N. Fremont (Mississippi district) Woodstock and Sellwood in Portland and Pioneer Square and Wallingford in Seattle.
“We hope to stem our financial losses, keep Grand Central Bakery alive through the COVID-19 pandemic and one day rebuild,” says CEO Claire Randall. “With the current bread production team and café crews, we are taking every precaution to operate safely.”
Grand Central is focusing on continued production of artisan bread for Portland and Seattle supermarkets and on take-out business at its remaining cafes – Beaumont, Cedar Mill, Hawthorne and Multnomah in Portland and Burien, Eastlake and Wedgwood in Seattle. Its on-line menu includes bread, pastry, coffee and sandwiches with easy and safe curbside pick-up. Customers can also buy digital gift cards at grandcentralbakery.com
The company’s locally-minded business model means that regional farms, ranchers and artisan producers and other community groups will be affected as well. Last year nearly 90% of Grand Central Bakery’s food dollars were spent with sustainable farmers and ranchers in the region.
They donated $35,000 in cash grants to nonprofit partners and paid for 751 volunteer service hours for employees to work in the community. “We also fed and provided welcoming places to gather, for so many customers,” Randall says. “We hope this time of great uncertainty eventually
leads us back to running a strong business with a purpose.”