OpenGate Capital has declared bankruptcy for the Golden Guernsey plant in Waukesha, which led to the plant’s shutdown on Saturday, the company said Tuesday.
More than 100 employees were left without answers when the plant shut down. One employee, Robert Storm, has filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development because the employees did not receive 60 days notice before they lost their jobs.
Online federal records did not yet have a bankruptcy notice posted late Tuesday.
The company started in 1930 as a farmer-owned cooperative in Milwaukee, and by 1935, Golden Guernsey delivered milk to the homes of 20,000 customers in Wisconsin, according to its website. By 1955, construction began at its current facility at 2101 Delafield St.
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Dean Foods was ordered to sell the plant by the U.S. and Wisconsin Departments of Justice in order to settle an antitrust lawsuit because Dean Foods owned about 60 percent of milk processing plants in the state. an investment firm that planned to continue operations of the dairy processing facility.
Golden Guernsey increased sales by 20 percent under OpenGate Capital’s ownership but the company was unable to reduce expenses, the news release states.
“We have to make realistic decisions about our investments, and the reality is that the Golden Guernsey business was unable to achieve financial autonomy given the pressure to lower prices and seemingly non-negotiable operating expenses,” OpenGate Capital CEO Andrew Nikou said in the press release. “This was a very difficult decision given the loss of jobs and disruption to milk delivery service, yet it had to be made.
“The closure of the plant is not a reflection of the hard work contributed by the Golden Guernsey family of employees," Nikou added. "Unfortunately, when expenses overwhelm revenue for too long, and we are unable to achieve cooperation from the people with whom we do business, the business cannot be sustained.”