Bleeding Heart Bakery Says It's Going to Close the Oak Park Location
Owners say Oak Park is losing customers to Elmhurst.
The Bleeding Heart Bakery in Oak Park is closing.
According to a message posted on the store's Facebook page Thursday, the bakery at 1010 North Blvd. is shutting its doors, in part, because many of its regular customers have flocked to Bleeding Heart's Elmhurst location.
The message also states the owners will be focusing their efforts on a "new home base" at 1351 W. Belmont in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. Full message below.
The Oak Park location has legions of local fans who've clamored to the bakery's specialties and punk rock ethos. When an employee was mugged at the store during a robbery in December 2011, customers threw support and well wishes the store's way.
But co-owner Michelle Garcia and the bakery's West Town location have been the epicenter for controversy in recent weeks, at least among foodies and former employees. The West Town location, the largest in the mini-chain of Bleeding Hearts, was started under a partnership with a pair of Chicago restaurant owners.
According to those partners, business at the West Town location is booming. Which raised questions about a mysterious mid-April event called "Save Our Bakery." From the get-go, the event seemed to have sent mixed signals — Save the bakery? From what? Wasn't business good? Who's throwing it? Why would someone throw a fund-raiser for a for-profit business? Where would the money go?
In various Chicago publications, Garcia has been tight-lipped about what was going down, citing legal reasons. She's explained that "Save Our Bakery" was an attempt to wrestle back control from what she believed was a small-scale corporate takeover.
That was apparently a shock to the new partners.
Anyway, the event was later renamed and featured live music and a silent auction. And the imbroglio has prompted outcry from a blogger who's tried to debunk the fund-raiser. The crudely titled Tumblr, Bleeding Heart Bakery Sucks, has become a forum for disgruntled ex-employees.
Here's Bleeding Heart's message:
This morning I bring bittersweet news. I'd like to thank Oak Park for your support throughout the years however we have chosen to close our baby store. With the opening of Elmhurst we saw many of our regulars switch to that store and with our new home base opening at 1351 West Belmont we need to concentrate our efforts in keeping what we do have alive and kicking and focus on what is most important. Michelle has suffered with health problems that aren't going away soon and we also have many side projects including our own tv show in the works. We will stay open until our last groupon pick up day, which is the first week of May, but our hours will slim down. Any orders placed for after our closing day will be available either at Elmhurst, Belmont or for Delivery to your door. Again, we thank our loyal followers and customers and we hope you can find your way to Elmhurst or Belmont.