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BRATTLEBORO — More than 60 local people will be out of work after a bakery closes its production facilities in early January.

According to a statement from Flowers Foods, which operates Country Kitchen in the Exit 1 Industrial Park, the closure will affect 66 employees who work in production, engineering and administration.

"The bakery does not have the production volume necessary to operate the bakery efficiently and remain competitive," stated Paul Baltzer, a spokesman for Georgia-based Flowers Foods, in an email to the Reformer. "Employees at Lepage Bakeries Brattleboro, LLC have been notified that the bakery will discontinue production on January 4, 2019."

However, noted Baltzer, not everyone will be out of a job in January. "Lepage will continue to maintain a shipping department at the facility to handle inter-company shipments."

Country Kitchen Bakery moved in to the 70,000-square-foot facility at the Exit 1 Industrial Park in 1992. Flowers Foods purchased Lepage Bakeries, the previous owner of Country Kitchen bakery, in 2012 for $370 million. At the time of the sale, Flowers operated 41 bakeries throughout the southern half of the United States and posted sales of $2.8 billion.

Upon learning about the upcoming closure, the Vermont Department of Labor activated its rapid response team, which includes Creative Workforce Solutions, Vocational Rehab and the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation.

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"The team will be setting up a formal recruitment event as soon as possible," said Adam Grinold, executive director of the BDCC. "At least six local employers are already engaged with the rapid response team. We are lucky to have employers here in the Windham region who understand the complexity of a layoff and who are actively offering their support. The BDCC will ensure these and other employers are engaged in that process."

Grinold said the rapid response team represents an experienced group of partners who are already working to create solutions.

"While every layoff affects real people, and creates genuine disruption, the rapid response team ensures that people being impacted have the support they need to connect with employers who would like hire them. The team will strive to minimize the impact on the lives of every individual being affected by the recent warn notice."

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 151, or raudette@reformer.com.