11th-Hour Deal Rescues Awrey Bakery
Originally published: February 20, 2013
by Michael Martinez, The Detroit News Columnist
Livonia-based Awrey Bakery, which filed a layoff notice to the state in November and was expected to have its assets sold at an auction today, has been saved in an 11th-hour deal that will keep the 103-year-old bakery open.
The buyer wasn't disclosed Tuesday.
Charles Winternitz, president of Loeb Winternitz Industrial Auctioneers, said that the two-day auction to sell machines, mixers and bowls used by the iconic bakery was canceled late Tuesday.
"The buyer came through to close," he said. "The sale is canceled. Very soon, the bakery will reopen, which is great."
Dan West, president of the Livonia Chamber of Commerce, confirmed the sale, although he said in an email he was "not at liberty to discuss the particulars of the transaction."
West said an announcement would be made today, and a press conference could be called in the coming days.
Awrey President and CEO Robert Wallace did not return messages seeking comment late Tuesday.
The company closed in recent days and most of its workers were laid off, said Shira Weissman, a spokeswoman for Rabin Worldwide, another auctioneer. She said it was the buyer's intention "to keep it running."
In a November layoff notice to the state, Wallace said "the company anticipates it will fully and permanently close the facility during the fourteen day period between Jan. 27, 2013 and Feb. 9, 2013."
The letter also said that the employment of 157 bargaining unit employees and 46 non-bargaining unit employees would end during that period.
Awrey, on Farmington Road north of Plymouth Road, was founded in Detroit in 1910 and moved to Livonia in the 1970s.
Besides selling its products to regional grocers and retailers, Awrey bakes for other companies, including Sanders. It produces Sanders' famous chocolate bumpy cakes.