After 90 years, German bakery to close as energy costs soar

COLOGNE: For 90 years, Engelbert SchlechtrimenHer family makes wheat rolls, rye bread and chocolate cakes in this western German city. Next month, they will turn off the furnace for good, because they can no longer afford the increased energy prices caused by the war in Russia. Ukraine.
Schlechtrimen’s grandparents set up a bakery in Cologne before World War II. The 58-year-old took over the business 28 years ago from his father and turned it into an organic store that uses traditional recipes and bans chemical additives in the toaster.
However, even these innovations did not help him close the family business – which includes a bakery and two stores with 35 employees – after nearly a century. It is a victim of the European energy crisis caused by Russia cutting back on natural gas, which is used to heat homes, generate electricity and power plants.
As a result, rising energy and electricity prices have left businesses already struggling with rising other costs as inflation soars.

After 90 years, German bakery closes due to rising energy costs

“For a while, we have faced multiple crises at once: job vacancies, staffing shortages, closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, rising raw material costs and now the explosion of energy costs and further increases Schlechtrimen said this week.
He pointed out that the cost of raw materials will increase by 50%. And “now, there’s also the energy cost crisis. So far, we’ve only seen an increase of about 70%, because we heat the furnaces with diesel. The fear is that the price will quadruple. “.
Schlechtrimen tried to conserve energy whenever possible – but that wasn’t enough to make up for the growing costs.
He also raised the price of his products to offset his spike in costs, but customers, who also tightened their belts as inflation rose, shunned and turned to the discounters selling baked goods. industrial production at lower prices.
In the end, the baker in Cologne had to admit that he was no longer making enough profit to keep his business afloat.
Schlechtrimen isn’t the only baker struggling to make a living in Germany these days. Small family-owned bakeries across the country are struggling to cover their costs.
“Many bread businesses are worried about how they will do in the next few months. They are facing a tsunami,” Friedemann Bergexecutive director of the Federation of German Manufacturers.
“We would like to see a financial bailout for our bakeries, with the federal government providing aid to help our businesses efficiently, quickly and non-popularly. owner,” Berg said.
The German government this month announced an additional 65 billion euros in investment in a new round of measures aimed at easing inflation and high energy prices for consumers.
But for the likes of Schlechtrimen, aid may come too late.

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