The Schlistermann family’s bakery, which has been operating in Cologne since World War II, is preparing to close its doors for good next month because it cannot afford high energy prices in Germany.
“We’ve been under incredible stress over the last few weeks and months … after the epidemic, there were several crises,” Engelbert Schlichtermin, who inherited his father’s bakery 28 years ago, told the Associated Press.
We are afraid of quadrupling the price of energy
The bakery was founded in Cologne by Schleskrimin’s ancestors before World War II and was known for its baked wheat breads, rye bread and chocolate chip cookies, while Engelbert kept to traditional recipes and banned the use of processed chemicals.
Rising energy prices have put enormous pressure on bakeries and small businesses struggling to survive amid rising prices and inflation.
“There is also an energy cost crisis. So far we’ve only seen an increase of 70%, because we heat the stoves with diesel. But we are afraid of quadrupling the price of energy,” said Schlichtermin.
Despite its efforts to save energy as much as possible and raise product prices to cover its high costs, Schlichtermin was unable to pay the bakery costs and the salaries of its 35 employees. Schlichtermin adds that buyers prefer to buy bread at lower prices due to the general economic situation.
In Germany, it is very difficult for small bakeries to cover costs.
“We want to save our small bakeries with federal aid in an efficient, fast and unbureaucratic way,” says Friedman Berg, executive director of the Bakers Union.
The German government announced a new €65 billion aid package in September aimed at easing inflation and high energy prices for consumers, but Schlichtermin said the aid came too late.