CHATTANOOGA, TENN. — Grain Craft has announced plans to close its flour mill in Cleveland. Employees were notified of the decision April 22, which the company said was prompted by “challenging market dynamics and long-term supply chain obstacles.”
The mill, which has daily capacity of 8,500 cwts of flour, has experienced declining business and will close mid-year, Grain Craft said. The mill primarily grinds hard winter and spring wheat.
Located in an industrial area of downtown Cleveland known as The Flats along the Cuyahoga River, access to and from the mill has become increasingly difficult, said Peter Frederick, president of Grain Craft.
Grain Craft said it has communicated with customers to assure continuity of supply from other locations.
“The decision to close our Cleveland mill was difficult,” Mr. Frederick said. “Our team at Cleveland is a group of dedicated professionals who have been loyal to our company. We are committed to supporting each of the employees and the families who have been affected by this decision.”
The company said it will provide financial assistance and outplacement services for employees affected by the closing.
At a site with remnants from an 1856 stone buhr mill, the Cleveland facility has been operating since the late 1800s. Grain Craft noted that an important chapter in the mill’s history took place in 1972, when it was purchased by Fred Merrill from International Multifoods Corp.
For Mr. Merrill, the Cleveland mill was the starting point for the launch of Cereal Food Processors, Inc., which eventually grew to become the fourth largest milling company in the United States.
CFP was acquired in 2014 by Milner Milling and Pendleton Flour Mills with the combined business named Grain Craft.
The Cleveland mill is the third Grain Craft has slated for closing in recent years. The company in 2017 shuttered its 8,000-cwt flour mill in Salt Lake City. The Utah mill also was a Cereal Food flour mill. A few years earlier, in 2014, it closed Hawaiian Flour Mill in Honolulu with the expiration of the company’s lease from the state of Hawaii.
With the closing in Cleveland, Grain Craft will operate 13 US flour mills with a combined daily milling capacity of 154,000 cwts. The company is the third largest milling company in the United States.