Mias Bakery sends out a mayday as countdown for survival begins

Mias Bakery employee Sue Ruljanich says it will be a sad day if Mias Bakery has to shut up shop. Picture: Emma Geary
Mias Bakery employee Sue Ruljanich says it will be a sad day if Mias Bakery has to shut up shop. Picture: Emma Geary

THE countdown has begun on Canning-based Mias Bakery’s fight for survival following its entry into voluntary administration earlier this month.

Conrad Mias, whose family has owned Mias Bakery since 1950, said the bakery was placed into administration with WA Insolvency Solutions on July 12 and had 28 days to prove its viability.

Mr Mias, who is the third generation to run the business, hoped the bakery would continue for the sake of the 140 staff employed in its Welshpool flour mill and Canning Vale bakery.

While he would not say how much money was needed to get out of difficulties, he said the figure was achievable.

“It is not over yet, there might be some changes but I am hopeful we are going to trade out of it,” he said.

He said it was important bread sales improved to help turn around the business’s fortunes.

“The public can support us by getting into all the major supermarkets and when you steer your trolley down the isle buy our bread.

“We are getting some good support from the supermarkets. They have been overwhelmingly attentive to our needs.”

Mr Mias said depending on the results at the end of the 28-day administration period the company would either enter into an agreement with the receivers and creditors to keep going or be wound up.

Supermarket price wars were a key reason for the bakery’s financial problems, he said.

“Aldi were the biggest instigators. They started it with their price slashing of bread in NSW,” he said.

“Woolworths and Coles matched them nationally and then it went from one thing to the next.

“I don’t mind the supermarkets using bread as a loss leader but they have to be a bit more responsible.

“We couldn’t put our pricing up any more because if we go above the opposition you start the downward spiral to the bottom. You have to remain in front of the supermarkets and sell enough bread to warrant your shelf space. If you don’t sell your bread it dies a death.”

Mr Mias said the mining boom saw salaries increase for people with certain skills and once it ended there had been difficulties pegging back wages.

Mias Bakery’s Canning Vale base was established 25 years ago and originally housed the company’s flour mill before the mill was moved to Welshpool on Treasure Road in 2004.

Over the years the business had supported the community providing employment for residents living south of the Swan River and sponsoring schools, sporting groups and charities such as St Vincent de Paul Society.

Employee Sue Ruljanich, who has been a sales executive with the bakery for 20 years, said she loved working for the Mias family.

“I am devastated. There are a lot of mixed emotions at the moment. I am being really positive; we are going to see this through,” she said.

Ms Ruljanich called on the public to help save the company by buying Mias Bakery’s bread.

“I would like to see people buy our bread and make sure we are still going to be around in four weeks time.

“If the company does fold it will be a very sad day,” she said.

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