Homewood's mayor asks residents to contact Panera about store closing

Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld is asking residents to join in an email and letter-writing campaign to convince Panera Bread to keep two locations in town.
  A sign on the front door of
  Panera Bread in Cherry Creek
  plaza announces the bakery's
  closure March 17. The company
  has a new store slated to open
  soon at Halsted and 175th
  streets.
(Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 

Panera is soon to open a store at 175th and Halsted Streets, and has announced it will close the Cherry Creek store.

At the end of the March 12 village board meeting, Hofeld asked residents to contact Panera Bread CEO Blaine Hurst urging him to act on the corporate decision.

Hofeld wants the soup and sandwich chain to reconsider a decision to close the location at 18416 Governors Highway. 

Hofeld said the village was given notice on Friday, March 8, that the store would close within 10 days. A sign on the door at Cherry Creek advises customers that the store will close at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 17.

"We have always considered operating both locations and have been monitoring both trade areas,  we extended the lease at Cherry Creek (on a short term basis) in support of this," Panera’s Vice President of Retail Operations Jeff Harman said in an email to The Chronicle. "But (because of) more recent sales projections on both locations combined with the capital maintenance needed in our current location, the decision was made to close Cherry Creek."

A new Panera bakery at Halsted and 175th streets with drive-through lane is expected to open in coming days. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
  A new Panera bakery at Halsted
  and 175th streets with drive-
  through lane is expected to
  open in coming days.

 (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 

Hofeld asked residents to contact Hurst or Panera and urge the company to reconsider the decision.

He gave the address as:
Blaine E. Hurst
President and CEO
Panera,LLC
3630 South Geyer Road, Suite 100
St. Louis, MO 63127-1234

The email is [email protected].

“Needless to say, I’m very disappointed in Panera because we had been led to believe that this was not a relocation but rather (Halsted) was a new store,” Hofeld said. 

Hofeld provided The Chronicle with a copy of a letter he personally wrote to Hurst. 

In the letter, Hofeld said he met with Harman “numerous times” during the planning of the new store. Hofeld stressed that the two stores would serve different markets, with the new location being convenient for transitory customers and the Cherry Creek store serving locals.

“I’m asking you to intercede, to act as I would, with executive action to keep the Cherry Creek store open for at least one year, to validate that its sales would remain strong and would not affect the new store’s revenues,” Hofeld wrote. “You will not be disappointed.”

Hofeld invited Hurst to visit both locations. He said he helped bring Panera to Homewood 18 years ago when the Cherry Creek location opened. 

“I could never stand by when a business makes a wrong move,” Hofeld wrote. “This is definitely a wrong move.”

Harman said the opening date of the new location hasn't yet been determined. He expects the new store to have a drive-thru and a "newly-designed environment."

"The current location, because of location, cannot ultimately support the Panera we want to give to the city of Homewood," Harman said. "We realize people are passionate about their Panera in Cherry Creek but ultimately we are not leaving Homewood. We have actually made a sizeable investment in bringing the new location into Homewood which will include employing even more residents."

 

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