Atlanta Bread Company in Tupelo closes

Atlanta Bread Company closed abruptly Wednesday afternoon. (Courtesy)

Atlanta Bread Company closed abruptly Wednesday afternoon. (Courtesy)

By Robbie Ward

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo’s Atlanta Bread Company closed abruptly Wednesday afternoon.

According to employees, they were told to display a closed sign around 3:30 p.m. Remaining customers finished their meal and left as shocked employees learned they no longer had jobs.

Workers not on duty arrived as usual at 4 p.m. to pick up the week’s paychecks and learned they were jobless.

The business employed 22 workers and was open for three meals each day.

Multiple employees contacted by the Daily Journal expressed shock and devastation when learning they lost their jobs with no notice.

Atlanta Bread first opened in Tupelo in 2008 by franchise owners Brett Hildenbrand and Hugh “Kip” D. Tigrett III. Their company, T & H Restaurants, legally dissolved in October 2013. Hildenbrand said through email late Wednesday night that he no longer had any ownership in the franchise. Tigrett and his wife, Nickole Hall Tigrett, have ownership in another company, K and N Enterprises, Mississippi Secretary of State records show.

Efforts to reach Tigrett were unsuccessful.

The restaurant donated bread to the Salvation Army daily to feed the homeless as well as food banks for the needy. The restaurant also was a frequent site for charity benefits where certain amounts of proceeds that night went to a cause or nonprofit.

Atlanta Bread currently has more than 110 locations spanning 25 states, according to its website, which also calls the eatery a privately held, quick-casual dining concept.

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  • TupeloRob

    I feel really sorry for these employees. Horrible way to close a business. People who use Dr. Hildenbrand or Kip Tigrett’s business should look elsewhere if this is the way they operate.

    • Jamey Baxter

      These guys did not close on the heels of one bad month. You might need to know more about how the restaurant industry actually works before you tell people to basically boycott the owners’ other businesses.

      • TupeloRob

        I am not saying they were wrong to close the business. I am sure it was based off several months and that is my point. My point is they DID know in advance so it was very crappy to lay off the employees like they did. Even in manufacturing the employees have some notice. It says a LOT about those two men imo.

        • Jamey Baxter

          You solidified my point. Restaurants and manufacturing are different businesses that have to operate differently. Manufacturers would get “caught” a lot faster if their inventory for production stopped coming in or their labor started getting cut, or their production quotas started shrinking.

  • Guest

    So hard to believe this happened. Seemed such a busy place with great food and service. And to close on Wednesday in the middle of the afternoon. So odd.

    • Jamey Baxter

      It is the end of the month. They get 2 days to clear out.

    • TupeloRob

      I agree. They went through a period a couple of years ago where they were never busy but it seemed like things had picked up. I was really surprised they shut down. It probably wasn’t making enough money for the owners to fool with it.

  • Jamey Baxter

    This is how most businesses, especially restaurants close. Employees who pay attention would have seen this coming – those that didnt just needed to pay more attention to things like inventory and replenishment.

    It is sad, but they cant give advanced notice. It isnt possible. Theft would go through the roof, and the employees would not come to the rest of their shifts. Especially when you are dealing with food and public safety, the day you tell your employees that you are closing is the day you close.

    It isnt ideal, but nothing about losing a business is ideal.

    • countrydawg

      Good posts, Jamey. The optics are bad, but this is in fact how restaurants usually shut down. The only time people get advanced notice is when a media outlet is tipped off–like Biz Buzz, for example.

      But there was a poster claiming “the political climate” closed Back Yard Burgers. *synth pad swell* Could the government be behind Atlanta Bread shutting down?! The closures are about a year apart. Connect the dots and WAKE UP, SHEEPLE! #TEECOT

      (Seriously, do a site search on that story. That guy’s comments are hilarious.)

    • johnnybegud

      Jamey Baxter , In the scenario you describe, if you can’t hire better employees than you describe and cannot run a business with better results than you describe, you should have never been in business anyway. That is a fact! Managing/operating/running a business of any type including a restaurant REQUIRES a great degree of knowledge, skill, and especially hard work with constant attention to your business(including employees). Like I said, if you can’t do this, better stay out! Most employees remain as loyal to an employer on closing day as they were on their first day. I hope you don’t own a business that employs people!!

      • Jamey Baxter

        I have owned more businesses and hired more employees than you care to know, since that doesn’t fit your arguement. I have also had to close businesses, both as a “career” for a well-known restaurant chain (yes there are people that work in the business or closing down businesses) , and I have had to close 4 locations in 2 different divisions of my personal business in a market that wasnt panning out, ie never once turned a profit in 2 years, theft, higher than normal turnover, huge economic shift in the dma including thousands of jobs lost/relocated. At the “peak” the number was 12 locations, 4 states in 2 different industries. But I dont know anything about business and employees. ..

        Dont pretend for a moment that you understand how this thing works. Your ignorance of the subject and peoples “disillusioned beliefs” of owed benevolence by the owner is highly inaccurate.

        The employees were not loyal. The local economy wasnt loyal. Otherwise, the business would be running still. Businesses fail. There is nothing “fair” about it. Was it “fair” to the owners who invested in the business? Was it fair to the lenders who lent the money? Was it “fair” to the landlord? The ripple effect far exceed the employees and owners only – suppliers also take a hit, local government takes a hit, programs they donated to take a hit.

        The employees are all covered by unemployment/underemployment. If there are not jobs for them to get paying the same/doing the same, it should be a warning to the rest of the market and members of the community thay the economy there isnt strong enough to support the restaurant and disposable income businesses.

        • johnnybegud

          What a rant! Ha You should climb the stairs out of your parents’ basement and go outside for some fresh air in the real world sometime. All your internet reading and delusional thinking(dreaming) has probably already destroyed any chance for true reasoning on your part however. If I had any tendency to believe your claims of experience in the business world, I would certainly believe you were capable of closing unlimited businesses. By your own exaggerated claims, you have more experience failing in business than in successfully operating a business. You have let your ego inspired drive to expound on your ability to fail and close businesses to expose your lack of understanding how to successfully operate a business! Ha Ha You are funny, and mildly entertaining! 🙂 Typically, you have not named a single business you presently own, or even ONE you owned and closed! HA

          • Jamey Baxter

            Your non belief of my resume doesnt bother me one bit. One day you too will be successful at something, but with your lack of knowledge of how business works in the real world, it will not be at life or business. I sold one of my divisions last summer. Nda’s preclude disclosure, but we probably got more in the sale then most will make in a lifetime. Nda’s also preculde me from giving details of my restaurant industry job, but if you like the chicken sandwich, you will be able to figure it out.

            Closing a business hurts. It hurts to put your employees out on the street. It hurts to know that a dream didnt come true, and that money is being lost, never to be returned. Most business owners have no “government fall back” if they fail. They get to go bankrupt.

          • johnnybegud

            Oh, I knew my non belief of your self stated importance would not bother you. I know that once you log on here, you are 10 feet tall and bullet proof as well as more handsome and wealthier and successful at failing in business. 🙂 You did not invent B.S. and you are not the most convincing B.S.’ er! I will let you go and you will not have to deal with an unimpressionable nobody like me. 🙂 Besides I imagine your mom is at the top of the stairs with your PBJ sandwich and spaghettios. Sell a couple more divisions this afternoon for a few trillion(nobody but me will question your figures-oh that’s right-don’t give any, just state say highest ever recorded, etc.) Then close down a few businesses–NOT your fault though..don’t give that impression. You’re just the “closer”! 🙂 Have a nice delusional, dreamy, imaginative, afternoon! Please stay out of your mom’s tranquilizers… you do NOT need them! 🙂

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    Panara Bread and Atlanta Bread Company restaurants are a lunch-time staple throughout the country: quite often so packed as to force a line out the door. I suspect the restaurant’s closure is completely due to a terribly poor choice of location.