One of Breese’s largest employers and oldest businesses has closed.
Breese Mayor Charlie Hilmes told WGEL it is his understanding that Haag Food has ceased operation at its warehouse on the east side of the city.
Founded in 1944, Haag Food provided food products to various fast-food restaurants.
Mayor Hilmes said Haag Food was the second or third largest employer in Breese with about 70 employees. At one time it had 85 to 90 workers.
Haag Food owes the City of Breese about $551,000 in Community Development Assistance Program loans. Seed money for that program was received from the state. Mayor Hilmes emphasized no city tax money was used for the loans.
He said that up until last month, Haag Food had never missed a loan payment. Over the years, the city had made five CDAP loans to Haag Food for around $1.2 million, according to Mayor Hilmes.
The Belleville News Democrat reported the business allegedly owes around $7.9 million on a revolving credit loan with Midland States. Haag Food was lately under control by a third party.
Hilmes said there is a chance the city could receive some of its loan money back, but he is not expecting much. The mayor hopes another business will have the need for the warehouse, which includes freezer space and a large storage area. He said that would mean jobs for Breese.