companion baking photo by meera nagarajan

Companion Baking is closing its Maryland Heights cafe on Friday, July 1

With demand for its breads growing across the country in restaurants, grocery stores and other wholesale locations, Companion Baking has announced it is closing its cafe at 2331 Schuetz Road in Maryland Heights. The cafe’s last day of business will be Friday, July 1, after which the space will be repurposed to expand Companion’s manufacturing capacity. 

The announcement was made on Companion Baking’s website and on social media on Monday, June 27. “We love breaking bread with our community, so this was an extremely difficult decision to make. The West St. Louis café and its wonderful staff are near and dear to our hearts, but we are confident this is the best choice to allow our team to meet the needs of our customers both in St. Louis and across the country,” the statement said. “We are incredibly proud of what our team has accomplished over the past six years, and we’re so grateful to all of the people, especially manager Miriam Ruiz, who’ve helped make our West café such a special place.”

Companion Baking co-owner Josh Allen said the decision was bittersweet. “We hate to see that location go away because we really enjoyed inviting the public into our factory space and being transparent with our manufacturing process,” Allen said. “But, candidly, our business is rapidly expanding on the manufacturing side and we are out of space for production in the building.” Closing the cafe will free up an additional 5,000 square feet of real estate that can be converted to production space immediately. Allen said that was ultimately a more attractive option than taking on the cost and time lag of expanding the facility with new construction.  

Allen said Companion’s business has grown significantly, partially as a result of supply chain challenges that have forced competitors in the bread business to scale back production and discontinue certain product lines. “We're shipping bread really from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachian Mountains,” Allen said. “That part of our business is growing, and we have opportunities right now that we’ve really got to take advantage of. That certainly can't wait, we've got to be able to get product out the door and we’re struggling spatially in the back of the building.”

Business will continue as usual at Companion’s Ladue cafe at 9781 Clayton Road. “We've been very well supported by the community surrounding that [cafe], we're super happy about how things are going in that location,” Allen said. Customers who had collected reward points at the Schuetz Road location will be able to redeem those and continue to earn points at the Ladue cafe. Companion Baking said all staff at the shuttered cafe will be offered the option to remain with the company.