PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Phoenix mom and pop business is forced to close its doors. The closing isn't because the business isn’t doing well, but because the owner cannot find enough people to work for her.
The doors are officially closed for good here at My Gal Sal Bakery and Café in Phoenix.
The owner had a tough choice. Resign her lease at the end of the year or close her business. The owner Salomae Schroeder always planned to stay open, but was forced to shut her doors because she couldn't find enough workers.
“For me, I feel today like my best friend just died because I have to walk away from all of this,” Schroeder said.
Tears filled Schroeder’s eyes today as she served her last customers. “I’m going to miss a lot of my customers who have become my friends,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder made her dream a reality. She came from overseas and opened a bakery in Phoenix. Schroeder said she has been successful for the last five years. Her shop was voted Best Bakery in the Valley in 2018 and 2019, but an unforeseen situation arose once the pandemic hit.
Raj says, after eight years at her Tempe location her landlord will not be renewing her lease and she has to be out in a few weeks.
“Nobody wants to work; I don’t know where the people are,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder said 24 people recently applied for positions. Sixteen of them didn't answer her follow-up calls, and the other few did not show up for the interviews. “I’m just mentally exhausted. I just can’t do it alone anymore,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder has been working 14+ hour days to try to keep her business afloat. Closing her doors was a decision out of her control. “This has been an awful experience for me,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder said she was paying her workers above minimum wage and gave year-end bonuses. She said even with these incentives; it wasn’t enough. And she is not alone. “I know a lot of places are struggling to find employees,” Schroeder said.
“To lose that all of a sudden, I can’t believe it. It’s a shock,” longtime customer Sherry Kimmel said.
Today, customers filled the bakery ordering their favorite treats for the last time, giving Schroeder hugs and well wishes. “She has created an amazing business; her food is wonderful,” Kimmel said. “I’m going to miss her.”
Schroeder said she doesn't know what the future holds for her. She hopes the workforce will recover so she can once again serve those in the community. “I will always be so thankful for all of the support I’ve had over the years,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder said she still has a ton of ingredients inside her shop, so she plans on baking some more goods with what she has and donating them to a local food bank.