by Melanie Jongsma
LANSING, Ill. (January 27, 2020) – “The hardest thing when we closed,” said long-time Bakers Square employee Lynette Reid, “was thinking about our customers. Because our customers are more like family. We never thought of them just as customers.”
The sudden shuttering of the restaurant located at 3545 Ridge Road left patrons as well as staff stunned. Reid was scheduled to open on Saturday morning, January 25, but when she pulled into the parking lot, representatives from corporate were already there to let her know the store was being closed. Instead of cooking breakfast, making coffee, and greeting customers, most of the shift was sent home, while a few stayed to begin cleaning out the building.
In spite of steady business and faithful patronage in Lansing, rising operational costs contributed to a decision not to renew the building’s five-year lease when it was up.
Other locations closed on the same day include Bakers Square restaurants in Alsip, Libertyville, Orland Park, and Springfield, Illinois; Merrilville, Indiana; North Olmsted, Ohio; and Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Earlier today, American Blue Ribbon Holdings, the parent company of Bakers Square, filed a petition for voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization with the US Bankruptcy Court of Delaware, according to a prepared statement. “Once approved by the Court, this filing will allow the Company to continue operation of its businesses and service to its customers in the ordinary course while it works through the important elements of a plan of reorganization,” the statement explained.
A news release taped to the front door of the closed Lansing restaurant assures the public, “It is important to note that all team members will be relocated to another nearby location or provided a severance package.” Reid confirmed that she and several others will most likely transfer to the Schererville Bakers Square. She considered accepting the severance package, but she has enjoyed her work for nearly 40 years and would like to continue. She’ll be meeting with management in Schererville tomorrow, January 28, to discuss specifics and options.
“We want our customers to know that we love them and miss them,” said Reid. “We’re gonna be ok, but all of us—the Bakers Square Lansing family—will miss everyone in Lansing.”