We were extremely sad to learn late yesterday that Haley House is temporarily suspending operations at its cafe in Dudley Square. With that said, as you will see in the extensive oral history of the nonprofit that we did with the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism for its 50th anniversary in 2016, Haley House has always been resilient and motivated to do what is best for the people it serves, and we have no doubt it will come back bigger and stronger later this year. What follows is a letter released by Executive Director Bing Broderick.
After careful consideration, Haley House has decided to temporarily suspend restaurant operations at Haley House Bakery Cafe effective January 12, 2019, in order to review and renew our business concept, with the goal of reopening restaurant operations later in the year. While the Cafe’s restaurant operations are paused, our catering and wholesale baking operations will continue, as well as our Take Back the Kitchen Program. We will also host the 11th annual Souper Bowl Fundraiser on February 10 at Haley House Bakery Cafe.
Since 2005, Haley House has proudly served the Roxbury community through our social enterprise restaurant. Over the past several years, the surrounding neighborhood has experienced dramatic shifts in the economic, social, and commercial landscapes. Inevitably, these contextual changes have impacted Haley House Bakery Cafe’s business, resulting in losses that Haley House cannot sustain indefinitely.
Recognizing this, the Haley House Board of Directors voted unanimously to suspend restaurant operations in order to start a renewal process, in keeping with Haley House’s 50+ year tradition of innovation and responsiveness to changes in community needs.
Our renewal efforts will focus on the most productive way to continue serving the Roxbury community while building on the Cafe’s legacy of vibrant, community-driven programming and supportive employment opportunities. This break will provide an opportunity to pursue fresh ideas that best align the Cafe’s menu, operations, and programming with current community needs and permit us to move forward with a more economically sustainable social enterprise. A key component of this process will be soliciting input and support from our key stakeholders, including community residents, staff, and food industry experts.
The temporary suspension of restaurant operations, unfortunately, will involve some of our valued employees being laid off during this period. We have notified them of this decision and will provide them with pay in lieu of notice through February 1, 2019. We have enlisted the help of the state’s rapid response team to assist them with their job search and to enroll them for unemployment benefits. We will work diligently to help every affected worker with their job search and to pursue any other available assistance they might need. We greatly regret the disruption they will face as we move forward to ensure the Cafe’s ability to operate and provide valuable employment opportunities on a sustainable basis.
The Board and staff express gratitude to the staff, volunteers, customers, vendors, community members, investors, and donors who have extended energy, support, and loyalty for the last 13 years. We hope that our customers and advocates will increase their purchases of our catering services and wholesale products during this transition so that we can continue to employ the staff we are retaining to work in those functions. We look forward to your continued engagement in renewing our retail operations to better meet needs of the community in 2019 and beyond.
Bing Broderick, Executive Director