BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A company that first started in the basement of a Birmingham grocery store will soon be shutting down its local plant.
On Monday, Utz Quality Foods announced in an SEC filing that effective July 3, it would be closing its Golden Flake plant at 1 Golden Flake Drive in Birmingham. The closure would affect 175 jobs at the plant. According to the filing, the employees at the plant were notified Wednesday.
“Golden Flake and other products currently being produced at the Facility will continue to be produced at other Utz manufacturing facilities following the ceasing of manufacturing operations at the Facility and the Company expects no distribution or availability issues due to the Manufacturing Closure,” the statement read, adding that the decision was based on the company’s “dedication to network optimization and cost containment.”
Golden Flake was originally founded as Magic City Foods in 1923 by Mose Lischkoff and Frank Mosher in the basement of the former Hill’s Grocery Store in Birmingham. Over the years, it became a major regional brand that was served in many places across the southeast. In fact, at one point, former Alabama football coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant was a spokesperson for the company, doing commercials for Golden Flake. In 2016, the company was bought by Utz.
There are currently 275 people who work at the Golden Flake Birmingham plant, 100 of whom will continue to work for Utz in different capacities in the city.
“Despite ending our manufacturing operations, our distribution center and logistics team will continue serving our independent operators and distributors, in the area,” said Kevin Brick, vice president of regulatory and community affairs in a statement sent to CBS 42. “We will continue to have a presence in Birmingham and will stay an active part of the community.”
In his statement, Brick said that Golden Flake remained an “important part of Utz’s portfolio,” and that outside of the plant closure, making and distributing the brand would not change.
“We are grateful to our Birmingham manufacturing colleagues for their many contributions to Utz,” Brick said. “Our leaders have spoken to those associates directly, and we are committed to providing them with support throughout the next few months and through their transition to their future endeavors.”
With the closing of the plant, Utz expects to incur $1.5 million in severance costs and up to $3.5 million in closing and production transfer costs. Utz owns and operates 13 different snack brands.