Leidig's, a popular county bakery for 45 years, filed last week for bankruptcy protection to restructure its debt.
The bakery plans to close its Columbia store in the Long Reach Village Center at the end of this month. But company president Dan D'Alonzo said he hopes to transfer the store's six employees to the Main Street bakery in Ellicott City.
D'Alonzo said the company has no plans to close down or start cutting corners.
"We're not going anywhere, Leidig's has been around for a lot of years and we intend to stay here," D'Alonzo said.
"We could go to a lesser grade flour and a lesser grade doughnut, but we think we can reach our goal more quickly by giving the public the same quality and service that we always have," D'Alonzo said.
A 21 percent drop in sales over the past year and increased production costs led Leidig's to seek bankruptcy protection under a Chapter 11 restructuring program, D'Alonzo said.
"The bakery business is probably the least recession-proof business there is," he said. "Unfortunately it just caught up with us."
Despite the drop in sales, the bakery's number of customers is up 8.5 percent. But the average sale amount is down.
"Instead of buying a 10-inch cake, they're buying an 8-inch cake," D'Alonzo said.
Although business has picked up in the past few months, it wasn't enough to avoid debt restructuring.
The bakery's problems in the past year haven't all been economic. The Long Reach store was broken into twice, and products and cash were taken. And on one of the biggest sales days of the year, the day before Thanksgiving, the Columbia store had to close because of a fire next door.
Leidig's has been a haven for county residents with a sweet tooth since 1947 when Norman Leidig opened his original shop on Main Street. A few years later he moved the bakery down the street to its present location.
The bakery was one of six buildings destroyed in the Main Street fire of 1984.
D'Alonzo and a partner bought the bakery in 1988 from John and Linda Fisher, who had owned the bakery since 1981. The Fishers opened Columbia store when the Main Street bakery was being rebuilt.
When D'Alonzo took over, his first priority was returning to the original doughnut recipes used by Norman Leidig.
He said he's convinced that his commitment to quality will carry the bakery through this difficult period.
In the meantime, Leidig's wasn't hurting for business last weekend. On Friday, D'Alonzo was supervising the preparation and delivery of 16 wedding cakes for the weekend.