After three years of serving Sequim, Bell Street Bakery permanently closed Dec. 31.
Owner Andre Baritelle said for “a bunch of reasons” he decided to shut down the operation, which provided bread for a handful of local restaurants and participated in the seasonal Sea Breeze Market, among other things.
Earlier in December, the bakery and The Garden Bistro ended their two-month partnership. In September, both entities announced a merger in which John Henry Bridger and David Johnson, owners of the bistro, would take over management of the bakery and expand the retail side with a walk-up deli and full kitchen.
On Dec. 13, Bridger wrote on The Garden Bistro’s Facebook page that “the Baritelle family has decided to renege on our contract and agreement to take over the Bell Street Bakery.”
Baritelle said he doesn’t feel his family reneged on the contract and he declined to comment further.
In a Jan. 4 press release Bridger said he and Johnson were surprised at the sudden closure of the bakery.
“We found out about the closure the same way everyone else did, by word-of-mouth,” he said.
On the bistro’s Facebook page, Bridger wrote he and Johnson were sorry people lost their jobs.
Baritelle said the bakery’s 12 employees worked their last day Dec. 30. Arrangements were made with the local restaurants and grocery stores that relied on the bakery’s goods, he said.
“It’s been a very difficult decision,” he said.
Bridger said he and Johnson plan to re-open the bistro in the very near future.