By Robbie Ward
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.