Schwan's closes down Louisiana operations

BATON ROUGE, LA (KPLC) - A longtime Louisiana business closed its doors Friday.  Schwan's home delivery food company will no longer operate its food delivery service in Louisiana.

"The Louisiana project is pretty much being shut down at Schwan's at this point," said General Manager Randy Oliveri. "There won't be any depots open after today."

Employees on their last day did inventory on the foods left over.  Offices all over the state, including Lake Charles, are shutting down.

An customer service operator for Schwan's home office said Friday the facility in Lake Charles was closed but customers could still order by mail.  The phone number for a Schwan's facility in Jennings was also disconnected.

"Been out of a work before, took me nine months to find a job the last time," said Jimmy Thurston. "Hopefully it won't take me that long this time."

Richard Whiteoak has been on the delivery route for the past nine years.  He says his customers were more than just an address.

"I'm a little sad to go," said Whiteoak. "When I started my route nine years ago, like other route managers, customers got to be like friends and family, so instead of a customer you get to go see a friend."

The company itself has been around for 55 years.  It's based in Minnesota - a long way from Louisiana - which appears to be a big part of the closure.

"I think the economy versus shipping the product this far down, being the corporate office is in Marshall, Minnesota," said Oliveri.

The yellow trucks of Schwan's won't be rolling on Louisiana roads any more.

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