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This month, Bimbo Bakeries closed all of its San Diego-area bakery outlet stores: in Kearny Mesa, El Cajon, Escondido, and Chula Vista.

By shopping at the discount stores, many folks, particularly those on fixed incomes, were able to save on costs. Brian, an employee at Tommy’s Nails (next to the Kearny Mesa store), reported that the flow of disappointed customers has continued weeks after the closing.

I sent a consumer inquiry to the company via their website. Karen, a Bimbo representative, called the next morning to say the company recently closed 13 stores in Southern California. She said it was “a business decision” and could not provide additional insight.

She also said the company is aware that consumer disappointment here has been significant. Based on feedback that the closings have negatively affected thousands of consumers in our area, she said she would recommend that the San Diego store be reopened.


Related story:
"Interview with a Bimbo Truck Driver"

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Mindy Ross March 31, 2011 @ 11:53 a.m.

I wonder if the Wonder Bread store is still open on Quince Street in Escondido. People on fixed incomes used to shop there too. I don't recommend buying food products at Big Lots because they are often stale and moldy. I've experienced this myself several times over the years, and I've seen other customers return bad product too.

They have cans of my dogs' food dirt cheap this month, but I won't buy it. I still go to Petco because I'm afraid there's something wrong with it and that's why it's for sale.

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Duhbya March 31, 2011 @ 12:28 p.m.

Wonder Bread/Hostess Cake 335 N Quince St Escondido, CA 92025 (760) 745-8920

Verified open 5 mins. ago.

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SurfPuppy619 March 31, 2011 @ 2:01 p.m.

Wonder Bread/Hostess Cake used to have a day old outlet by my home many years ago, you could go in and buy baked goodies at haf price or less b/c the date code was up, or coming up!!

MMmmmmmmm was that heaven!

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Visduh March 31, 2011 @ 1:59 p.m.

Only yesterday I discovered that the Oceanside Oroweat outlet store was closed, and then learned all were closed. Odd in that they put out a 2011 calendar and it had coupons for each month of the year. Yes, I'm sure it was a "business decision", but that doesn't stop customers from questioning it. It was a heck of a place to buy Oroweat bread (which ran heavily to whole grain offerings) and then there was the free Entenmann's if you spent a mere $6 or so. My wife and I had been going to those outlet stores since the mid-70's.

Remember the Bimbo is a Mexican company (thank you NAFTA) and has little loyalty to US consumers. But what do they do with all the leftover bread? Without a major change in their business model, they do take plenty of less-than-fresh product off the supermarket shelves on every visit. It has to go somewhere. They seemed to have a very good way to dispose of it without competing with the supermarkets by having a few of those stores in less desirable or out-of-the way spots. So, where is the stuff going anyway? Bet they won't tell. There is a high probability that they can take it across the border and sell through an outlet or outlets there that are cheaper to operate and at least as profitable as the stores were here.

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David Dodd March 31, 2011 @ 2:25 p.m.

There are stores here in Mexico, called "Expendio's", where Bimbo bread is offered at discount. These stores (many, many hit-and-miss locations all over, they are privately owned) offer all Bimbo products that are close to expiration. My guess is that products for the Bimbo operation in the U.S. have to be manufactured in the U.S. or at a minimum in an entirely separate facility here in Mexico to meet with the strict and expensive compliance required by the Health Czars there (just as all beer brewed for export to the U.S. has to be done in a separate facility here).

My guess is that Bimbo is not nearly as profitable in the U.S. as it is here in Mexico, and the regulations and standards required to sell old bread in the U.S. probably aren't worth the expense. As for myself, if I were forced to do a similar business in the U.S. I would destroy all leftover food rather than risk a multi-million dollar class-action lawsuit. In the United States of America, it is often financially dangerous to attempt to feed poor people, or even people who enjoy saving a few dollars here and there. Apparently, the liability from bombing Middle-Eastern countries poses less of a risk as the same government that crushes its own people with stupid regulations has no issue spending billions of taxpayer dollars on missiles and bombs overseas.

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Visduh April 1, 2011 @ 8:37 a.m.

A couple people have suggested that all that Oroweat and Entenmann's would be given to these food co-op's and other charitable operations. I doubt that, due to the liability, the accusations of favoritism by those who don't get any of it, and the fact that there is just a heck of a lot of the stuff and it is still worth quite a lot. Now that refried has confirmed that Bimbo already has such outlets in Mexico, that is the more likely scenario.

Mindy is right that Sara Lee has sold off its baking operations to Bimbo. Ironic, in that Sara Lee got started off selling those great frozen bakery treats, it is no longer selling its own namesake products. But Sara Lee, the corporation, is still in existence and is into other things.

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David Dodd April 1, 2011 @ 9:26 a.m.

Keep in mind it takes 2 days to cross goods into or out of the U.S./Mexico, so I doubt that Bimbo is bringing stuff back over here. Likely, our 2nd hand stores get the goods from here. My opinion is obviously very much Occam's Razor, but usually the most simple explanation is the true explanation.

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SurfPuppy619 March 31, 2011 @ 9:10 p.m.

Milk has gone up 20% in the last 3 months-I cannot believe that.

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Woodchuck April 3, 2011 @ 12:53 p.m.

What most folk's aren't aware of is that the Southern California stores were run by union employees. The wages and benefits were better than you might expect. After speaking with an employee who's job was eliminated in Chula Vista, I learned that the Northern California stores (non-union) were not closed. Was this a effort to break the union? I can't be sure, but do know the "out of business" sign breaks a lot of hearts and will be costly to the Bimbo bakery's reputation.

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joepublic April 4, 2011 @ 9:14 a.m.

I think Woodchuck might have nailed it. Could this company be closing its doors now and reopen later with new non-union employees? If so, not only have they hurt those who have needed the price break on baked goods, but our economy in general suffers. Union workers generally earn better wages and benefits than non-union. A higher salary often means spending more on goods and services at the marketplace and a better standard of living which benefits the entire community.

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CaliCentral April 30, 2012 @ 1:46 a.m.

Seriously people? A quick web search would've given you the answers you need. Instead of speculating that the "Mexicans" are at fault & don't want to pay union contracts, let this middle class, suburban mom lay it out for you in layman terms. Bimbo's been operating in the US for many years under the products like Entenmann's, Thomas English Muffins, Boboli, etc.. They're not "new" to our market. Bimbo employs thousands of American workers on US soil & provide FDA regulated products. Bimbo, their employees all pay taxes here in the US. Bimbo is providing jobs & growth in the US, unlike other "American" companies that outsource their labor to avoid taxes & the "high" American standard of pay. The US Dept. of Justice (DOJ) had to approve the sale of Sara Lee to Bimbo before it could be completed. The DOJ found the sale would violate antitrust laws in some markets in the US for sliced bread. After Bimbo bought Sara Lee, they didn't have the rights to manufacture & distribute Sara Lee products in 4 California markets. San Diego was one of the markets required to be divested within 90 days of the sale according to the DOJ in order to allow a healthy market for competition. Since there's been no sale, a DOJ trustee has been assigned to complete the divestiture. Outlet store closings are a sign leading up to the closing of plants, putting thousands of Americans out of work. My husband worked for Sara Lee for 11 years. All the employees were nervous about the security of their jobs during the sale. Then we found out Bimbo was taking over & there was a very brief sigh of relief that we would keep working. Now we're facing the closing of his plant because the government has decided that paying less money for bread is more important than Americans keeping their jobs. I keep reading remarks about "Mexicans" not caring, taking away American jobs & other moronic comments like boycotting Bimbo to support Americans. Bimbo purchased 43 Union & Non-Union plants in the US & have honored employee pay, benefits & union contracts. Instead of complaining about a "Mexican" company, wake up & support businesses like Bimbo that contribute to the US economy. Support our workers! BUY products manufactured in the US by people like my husband who come home covered in flour, burned, tired from standing & lifting just to provide the picky American public with a perfect loaf of bread.

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CaliCentral April 30, 2012 @ 2:59 a.m.

On a side note, Wonder Bread is bankrupt so those stores may be in trouble, too. Either that or their Union Workers will go on strike from Wonder filing for relief from paying into the pension fund (workers benefits).

To answer the question about the old bread removed from stores.. remember the FDA? It's that government agency that makes sure the food products we buy are acceptable for human consumption. A loaf of bread has a 14 day life from the oven to the expiration date on the tag. Once at the grocery store, it sits on the shelves for 7 days. Then the delivery drivers restock fresh bread and pull the old bread from the shelves. They take it to the outlet stores for the remaining 7 days before it's pulled from the shelves and thrown away. Imagine.. perishable, expired bread actually gets thrown away... in the garbage... in the bins behind the store. Grupo Bimbo has been in business since 1945 and does over 10 billion in sales. Did you really think they would ship it across the border when have 42 plants in Mexico and 111 other plants worldwide?

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tomjohnston April 30, 2012 @ 11:27 a.m.

Remember, it's Hostess, not Wonder Bread, that filed Chapter 1. They do have a $75 million financing commitment from a group of lenders, so they have been able to maintain operations so far. They quit paying into the union pension funds because they could not afford to make both those payments and stay current on its $700 million in outstanding loans. They have asked the 2 unions for some concessions, but as of 2 weeks ago, the answer is still no. Smart move by the unions. If Hostess ends up having to liquidate, the unions would most likely end up behind all of the other creditors in the queue and may end up with nothing. And if either of the 2 unions decide to go on strike, then the lenders will pull their financing, which in all likelihood force Hostess into liquidation. Better stock up on those twinkies and dingdongs while you can.

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