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After 90 years, German bakery to close as energy costs soar – Times of India

COLOGNE: For 90 years, Engelbert Schlechtrimen‘s household has been baking wheat rolls, rye bread and chocolate muffins on this western German metropolis. Subsequent month, they may flip off the ovens for good, as a result of they will now not afford rising power costs ensuing from Russia’s struggle in Ukraine.
Schlechtrimen’s grandparents based the bakery in Cologne earlier than World Conflict II. The 58-year-old took over the enterprise 28 years in the past from his father and turned it into an natural retailer that makes use of conventional recipes and bans chemical components within the bakehouse.
Nonetheless, even these improvements will not save him from closing down the household enterprise — consisting of a bakery and two shops that make use of 35 folks — after nearly a century. It is one sufferer of a European power disaster pushed by Russia’s cutbacks of pure fuel, used to warmth houses, generate electrical energy and energy factories.
The ensuing hikes in power and energy costs have squeezed companies already battling an increase in different prices as inflation rises.

“For a while now, we’ve been juggling a number of crises on the similar time: job vacancies, lack of personnel, closures because of the coronavirus pandemic, excessive will increase in uncooked materials prices, and now the explosion of power prices and the additional improve in personnel prices,” Schlechtrimen mentioned this week.
He pointed to the prices of supplies going up 50%. And “now, there’s additionally the power price disaster. To date, we’ve solely seen a rise of round 70%, as a result of we warmth the furnaces with diesel oil. A fourfold improve in worth is to be feared.”
Schlechtrimen tried to save lots of power wherever attainable — however that wasn’t sufficient to make up for rising bills.
He additionally raised the costs of his merchandise to cowl his spiking prices, however clients, who are also tightening belts as inflation rises, stayed away and turned to discounters promoting industrially manufactured baked items for much less cash.
Finally, the Cologne baker needed to concede that he is now not making sufficient revenue to maintain his enterprise.
Schlechtrimen is not the one baker struggling to make a residing in Germany lately. Small, family-owned bakeries throughout the nation are having a tough time overlaying their prices.
“Many companies within the bakery commerce are anxious about how they will get via the subsequent few months. They’re going through a value tsunami,” mentioned Friedemann Berg, managing director of the German Bakers’ Confederation.
“We want to see a monetary bailout for our bakeries, with the federal authorities offering assist to assist our companies successfully, rapidly and unbureaucratically,” Berg mentioned.
The German authorities this month introduced an extra 65 billion-euro funding in a brand new spherical of measures aimed toward easing the sting of inflation and excessive power costs for customers.
However for folks like Schlechtrimen, the help could also be coming too late.

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