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Comings & Goings by Bob Bong

Comings & Goings by Bob Bong

Comings & Goings: Bakers Square closes last south suburban location

Bakers Square, which once had several locations in the Chicago marketplace, has closed its last south suburban location, in Orland Park.

Last year, before the pandemic hit, the chain closed without warning all but one of its south suburban locations from Lansing to Orland Park.

biz bakers square Orland closes

Bakers Square has closed its last south suburban location, in Orland Park. (Photo by Bob Bong)

Locations closed include 3545 Ridge Road in Lansing, 4839 W. 111th St. in Alsip, 14651 S. LaGrange Road in Orland Park, and a store at 8140 S. Mississippi St. in Merrillville, in northwest Indiana.

That left a Bakers Square still operating at 15711 S. Harlem Ave. in Orland Park in the south suburbs and one at 1675 U.S. Highway 41 in Schererville in northwest Indiana.

The closings followed the filing for Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection by American Blue Ribbon Holdings, the corporate parent of Bakers Square and Village Inn restaurants.

In the filing, the company said it closed 33 locations citing high wages, growing competition, declining sales and higher operating costs. American Blue Ribbon had $14 million in unsecured claims, including unpaid rent and litigation claims, according to the filing.

Last month, BBQ Holdings, which owns Granite City Food and Brewery and Famous Dave’s barbecue restaurants, said it planned to buy Village Inn and Bakers Square for $13.5 million.

“We believe the Village Inn and Bakers Square concepts are a great complement to our growing portfolio of restaurants,” BBQ Holdings CEO Jeff Crivello said in a statement. “Adding them to our family of brands will only strengthen our company as a whole.”

The closest Bakers Square locations are now the store in Schererville and one at 2020 W. 75th Avenue in Woodridge.

Bakers Square began in December 1969 with a single restaurant called Mrs. C’s in Des Moines, Iowa, that became popular for its pies. Pillsbury purchased Mrs. C’s around that time, renamed it Poppin’ Fresh Pies, and opened additional locations. VICORP, owners of the Village Inn restaurant chain, purchased Poppin’ Fresh Pies from Pillsbury in 1983 and renamed the chain Bakers Square.

Auto mechanics strike enters fourth week

The strike by members of the Automobile Mechanics Local 701 against more than 50 new car dealerships is now in its fourth week and shows no sign of ending soon.

Both sides said there had been some communication between them but no resolution appears to be in sight.

The union said a federal mediator has been brought in to help move negotiations forward.

Local 701 voted overwhelmingly to authorize the strike, which began at midnight August 1.

The same union workers were on strike for nearly seven weeks in 2017 before both sides agreed on a four-year deal.

The union told striking workers that they have free COBRA insurance coverage through September 30.

If you see a new business in town or wonder what happened to an old favorite, drop me a line at [email protected].

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