Its factory on Rothbury Industrial Estate, which supplies bread, cakes and pies to over 250 outlets across the north of England and Scottish Borders, closed abruptly on Friday
Director Nathan Trotter said: “It has been my top priority to turn around Rothbury Home Bakery and make it profitable.
“After several years of problems and more than six months of my direct involvement day-to-day, the board of directors made the very difficult decision to put the company into liquidation.
“It was an incredibly hard decision but the company was no longer financially viable, largely due to the substantial rent increases and equipment costs.
“I have written to all 19 employees whose jobs are at risk, expressing my sincere sadness that we had no option but to close the business and wishing them well for the future.”
The news has come as a huge blow to staff, especially with Christmas just weeks away and wages currently unpaid.
Kelly Taylor, a supervisor in the cake department, said: “I’m an employee of 21 years and found out on Friday at 9.30am from a liquidator we can’t even claim our wages until November 25, meaning we might not get money till six weeks later.”
She said that it had seemed like business as usual when staff turned up to work.
“We were still baking and there was bread in the ovens when the liquidator turned up and told us that production had to stop immediately,” she revealed. “We were handed a leaflet saying that we can’t claim our pay back until November 25 when the place goes into liquidation.
“I don’t know why there is that gap but it’s going to cause those people who have rent to pay a lot of problems. Even when we claim the money back it could take six weeks which takes us up to Christmas. There’s also the chance that if there’s no money left we won’t get paid.”
Coun Steven Bridgett, member for Rothbury on Northumberland County Council, said: “It is very sad to lose Rothbury Home Bakery Ltd but my priority must be the staff, many of whom I met at the weekend.
“The three things that we must ensure are that each member of staff continues to have a roof over their heads, that we look to source alternative employment for them and that they receive whatever they are owed or entitled to.
“The problem that we have is that while the staff may have been made redundant and are able to claim what they are owed through the redundancy payment service, they are unable to make that claim until the business enters into insolvency on November 25. If they were able to claim now, there is a very good chance they could have what they are owed by Christmas. If they have to wait until November 25, it could well be January before they receive what they are owed.
“If there are any members of staff who I have not spoken with and they require help with things like Universal Credit or Council Tax support, please do not hesitate to get in touch."
Rothbury Home Bakery began in 1982 as one shop with a bakery behind it. Subsequently, a van delivered bread to farms and houses in the remoter Northumberland valleys. Further shops were added and in 1989 the bakery moved to new separate premises to cater for its growing business.Although Rothbury Home Bakery no longer had its own retail shops, its customers included stores owned by Aldi, Asda, Co-op, OneStop and Spar together with a large number of independent stores, post offices, restaurants, hotels and sandwich shops.