Baking companies back on track after flooding
BakingBusiness.com, May 4, 2010
by Eric Schroeder
NASHVILLE, TENN. — Heavy rains that led to flash flooding in parts of Tennessee disrupted distribution of baked foods this past weekend, but indications were that facilities and employees of the major baking companies in the region escaped serious harm and operations were back on track.

Mike Cummins, a spokesperson for Sara Lee Corp., said the company’s wholesale bakery in Nashville lost power over the weekend but regained power on Monday morning and slowly has been regaining operating and financial systems. The closing of interstates 40 and 24 also affected the company’s delivery service, he said.

“We shifted some volume throughout our network in the region to make up for the disruption,” Mr. Cummins said, adding that the company is thankful all its employees are healthy and accounted for.

Tennessee Bun Co., which has a facility in Dickson, west of Nashville, and another facility south of downtown Nashville, escaped flood damage, but road closings have impacted some employee attendance and deliveries of products and ingredients, said Karie Hampton, director of communications for Tennessee Bun.

“Our Nashville plant shut down for one shift (Sunday) evening to ensure employee safety on the dangerous roads,” Ms. Hampton said. “Both plants are currently fully operational, thankfully, and are executing our contingency plans in case the road closures continue to be an issue. We are grateful to have no injury to our employees and no damage to our plants, and we are thinking of those who have lost much.”

Mary Krier, vice-president of communications for Flowers Foods, Inc., said the company’s three bakeries in Tennessee (in Morristown, Cleveland, and Crossville) are in full operation and have been unaffected by the flooding. She added the company’s direct-store delivery routes in the area were on the road Monday serving customers.

Hostess Brands, Inc., which has bakeries in Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn., said the storms did not affect its facilities but noted some deliveries were put on hold because several retailers’ stores were flooded and unreachable.