September 2, 2008
Landmark Bakery Faces Closure

Some 200 restaurateurs in the Sacramento area are scrambling to come up with a new source of bread now that word is circulating that a landmark Sacramento bakery, Muzio Baking Co., plans to turn off its ovens and close its doors a week from today.

"I'm sad, our employees are sad, our customers are sad," says Mervin Fahn, who joined the bakery in 1955 and subsequently became the owner. "It's the times. The restaurant business is soft right now."

Muzio is a union shop, and Fahn says he offered employees unspecified cutbacks to try to keep the business going but that they turned down his proposal. "Without concessions, we have to shut down."

The company employes 14 with an annual payroll of approximately $1 million, said Fahn. Because Muzio provides union wages and benefits, it can't compete effectively with non-union bakeries when costs for fuel, supplies and so forth are rising, said Mervin Fahn's son, David Fahn, also a principal in the business. "We aren't able to raise our prices to cover our additional expenses against competitors who don't have the same overhead," added David Fahn.

Muzio was founded in Stockton in 1882. Quiric "Joe" Fochetti opened the Sacramento branch in 1929. The Stockton bakery subsequently closed, but the Sacramento plant has been operating 79 years. It's at 108 34th St. in north Oak Park, west of the UC Davis Medical Center.

One of the bakery's first and more enduring customers, said David Fahn, has been the grocery store Corti Brothers, which faces its own uncertain future after the owners of the business were informed by their landlady that she is to lease the structure to another group.

Muzio sells its sweet and sourdough breads exclusively to restaurants. David Fahn says the bakery goes through some 20,000 pounds of flour a week.

Representatives of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 85 in Sacramento weren't immediately available to comment.

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