Mrs Baird's Thrift Store packs up her pastries
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For years, it was tradition for Goliad resident George Kullick: the trip to Victoria, the shopping cart of treats and the happy animals upon his return home.
"I go in to get bread for the deer that I feed out here and also for the ducks, chickens and kitty cats," he said, noting the haul typically lasts about a week and a half. "I always bought the leftover sweets for the donkeys. It was their dessert."
With his supplier's imminent close in sight, however, Kullick must soon change up that pattern.
Victoria's Mrs Baird's Thrift Store, 1008 N. Laurent St., will close Friday.
The Victoria shop is one of several locations closing, David Margulies, with The Margulies Communications Group, said in a written statement.
"Mrs Baird's is a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of the world's best fresh baked breads, buns, rolls and cake products," he wrote. "In order to focus more sharply on our core competencies, the decision was made to close some of our retail stores."
Mrs Baird's made its Victoria debut in 1959, after acquiring Lee Baking Co., according to Advocate archives. It went on to acquire the Ole Food Inc. tortilla factory, 1509 Port Lavaca Drive, in the early 1980s.
While the tortilla factory closed in 1992, the bakery remained in production through 1999. Following its closure, the thrift store remained in business.
Jennifer Mata is property manager with James Wayne Properties, the building's owner. She said the company has plans for the building but could not go in to detail.
Victoria resident Eva Faz ventured to the shop about 5 p.m. Wednesday for two loaves of bread - one white, one wheat - and some cookies. The longtime customer said she stops in once a week because she likes the brand and the price is right.
"I'm sad that it will close," said Faz, who works at the South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind. "We like coming here."
Kullick, too, said he was saddened by the news, and Thursday, he emailed a strongly-worded message asking the company's CEO to reconsider.
Not only will it hurt the store's employees who must now find work, but it also hurts the elderly residents who have come to depend on the discounted baked goods, he said.
Kullick, who is nearing 70, said he watches his money and uses the bread to cut costs when it comes to feeding the 28 deer, 30 cats and other animals that make their way to his home daily for meals.
He's already cutting back, he said, explaining that the deer now receive bread every other day. Soon, it will be every third day or so.
"I've got to ration," he said. "Maybe I can find someplace else close-by to buy things, but it's a shame. Victoria really needed to keep that store."
A representative with the Victoria shop declined comment, noting the company advised employees not to speak with the media.