After more than 100 years in Hawaii, Love’s Bakery is closing.
The closure will leave 231 workers unemployed at the end of the month. The Bakery says the pandemic has had a major impact on its business, leading to a “dramatic decline in sales, delays in ingredients and replacement parts for equipment.” Love’s adds that “we are seriously delinquent in rent and were unable to qualify for the 2nd round of PPP funding.”
While Love’s closing leaves a hole in the heart of Hawaii’s taste buds, it also worries the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce that one of the state’s most notable businesses closing could be the first big domino to fall.
“It just illustrates the dire impact COVID-19has had on many of our businesses,” Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara said. “If nothing is done to address economic challenges then we will unfortunately probably see more businesses shut their doors permanently.”
Since Love’s was unable to qualify for the second round of PPP loans, Menor-McNamara adds that this situation could be a tipping point. She wants legislatures to create policies to help businesses during this current session, and fill gaps where federal relief falls short.
“In the most current round it has certain criteria so that it’s a bit more restrictive in terms of what kinds of business can apply for PPP,” Menor-McNamara said. “So we’re hearing that there still needs to be more type of financial support financial relief programs to go to our local businesses.”
Love’s supplies grocery stores, schools, hotels, and restaurants with breads and baked goods.
“It’s the trickle down effect,” Hawaii Restaurant Association Executive Director Sheryl Matsuoka said of Love’s closing. “As the hotels and restaurants are not open then of course we are not ordering from Love’s and now this is one of the casualties of this pandemic.”
Matsuoka is also a partner at Rainbow Drive-In in Kalihi, which orders it’s buns from Love’s.
“Today Rainbow Drive-in we were discussing now what do we do,” Matsuoka said. “Many of the local drive-in type restaurants are now saying where do we get our buns from and where do we go?”
She adds that losing a local staple like Love’s could impact prices.
“If you have to go and start sourcing then your prices go up,” Matsuoka explained.
Menor-McNamara also expressed her concern about how this will impact supply chains. Love’s currently supplies grocery stores Tamura’s, Foodland, Times, KTA, Walgreens, Safeway, and Longs.