TAMPA — Phil Alessi, owner of the 100-year-old Alessi Bakery, reassured customers Tuesday that business will continue as usual, despite its recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
"We feel very confident that we will get out of this and prosper,'' he told reporters at Alessi's manufacturing plant near Town 'N Country.
The bakery, incorporated as Phil's Cake Box Bakeries, filed for bankruptcy protection Sept. 5 after struggling to pay its debt amid declining sales related to the recession. Its retail store and restaurant on W Cypress Street remains open.
Alessi said the fourth-generation, family-owned business ran into financial troubles in 2007 when it bought a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on Eagle Trail Drive, just as food orders began to drop. Before that, the bakery had successfully operated out of 30,000-square-foot plant in Drew Park.
Company officials will look to "right size'' the company through cost-cutting measures and management shifts, he said. None of the 150 employees are expected to be laid off.
The bakery is in negotiations to make and package food items for a major manufacturer. It also plans to start home delivery of its scachatta pizza and desserts and may lease some office and assembly space at its manufacturing plant.
If all goes as planned, the company could emerge from bankruptcy in a year.
Alessi thanked customers for their support since news of the bankruptcy spread. Cash mobs that descended on the store over the weekend did a lot to boost sales.
Alessi celebrates its 100th anniversary Oct. 5-7.