Open Window Closes Doors

Published: January 24th 2011
in Economics » Local

Open Window Bakery

Open Window Bakery, founded by Holocaust survivor Max Fieg, put 150 employees out of work last Monday when they unexpectedly closed down after over five decades in business.


Gail Agasi, Fieg’s daughter and Chief Operating Officer, and said that the 2008 economic downturn severely cut down on business because customers started choosing cheaper products.


“It’s because we don’t compromise on quality. A lot of this stuff is still made by hand,” Agasi told the Toronto Star. They also still use ‘Old World’ ingredients like vegetable oil and shortening. Competition by in-house bakeries of major grocery stores didn’t help either. Open Window was one of the last true independent bakeries in the city.


Agasi fought to save the principles of a European bakery, but the bakery owes several hundred thousands of dollars. As of last week, she couldn’t get investors but she said she is prepared to step down to save the company and get the employees back to work.


Some of the workers have been employed for almost 40 years.


Vince DiMatteo has worked there for 33 years at Open Window, reports the Sun.


“Going out of business, we figured that would happen a few weeks ago, but we were hoping someone else take over or have our records of employment ready today. This bakery is like a family, that’s why you see people leaving in tears, not on bad terms,” he told the Sun.


It’s not only the employees that are upset over the bakery closing- customers are feeling the loss as well. Going to buy fresh bread or cakes at Open Window was a favourite memory of many in Toronto, especially the Jewish community.


The Star reported today that Marina Campbell-Matthews’ mother used to take her there every other Saturday growing up. Now her mother is suffering from dementia at Baycrest, right across from Open Window. The bakery serves as a happy reminder of those childhood days.


“I will miss it,” she said.

Related articles: (Open Window, Bakery, Max Fieg)
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