Holiday Cookies: Some Good News for a Change

25 Dec Holiday Cookies: Some Good News for a Change

In this time of generally bleak economic news, I thought some good news would be a change of pace.  But to tell this story, the bad news first.  In October, the company that made Archway cookies (and Salerno butter cookies, if you’re from Chicago) filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Chapter 11 is usually a reorganization, but in this case the plants were immediately shuttered.  But, on December 2, 2008 an auction was held in the bankruptcy court, and Lance, of peanut-butter and cheese cracker fame, bought the Ohio plant that made Archway cookies.  And boy, did that make all the difference.

When it promised to reopen the bakery, Lance gave all 300 former Archway workers a $1,500 prepaid debit card.

“I was crying,” Devan says of the gift. “I am like, ‘What are these people doing? They don’t know me. They don’t know us. They don’t know any of the Archway people. And they are giving each and every one of us $1,500.’ ”

Sexton — the woman who’d been preparing her kids for a meager holiday — says of the $1,500 gift: “It was awesome. My first thought was, ‘I can give my kids a Christmas.’ ”

David Singer, CEO of Lance, says the gift cards were a way of letting Ashland know the new owners are different. “We wouldn’t do it willy-nilly,” Singer says. “We do want to make money. But this is the pool of folks that we intend to hire. We just wanted to let them know who we were.”

Now THAT’S the way to introduce yourself.  And Lance didn’t stop there.  It gave all employees their health insurance back, too.  And on December 16, the plant fired up and started making cookies again.  Lance plans to ramp up production, eventually rehiring most of the former Archway employees.

“It’s exciting to have the smell of cookies on Claremont again but, more importantly, to have people employed, especially in these tough economic times and especially with the growth potential of Lance,” said Marla Akridge, Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce president. “We’re truly excited that they’ve come into our community and are reinstating the economic growth.”

Happy Holidays indeed.

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