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News Tue Nov 18 2008
Earlier this year, Wicker Park's Sweet Thang bakery lost its lease and had to close its doors, Chef Bernard Runo promised to reopen in a new location. And indeed it did, at 2142 W. Roscoe Ave. in Roscoe Village.
Unfortunately, the new Sweet Thang is nothing like the old one. Runo appears not to be involved, as the new location apparently doesn't bake its own cakes and pastries, and prominently features a Chocolate Shoppe ice cream counter.
Wait, does that sound familiar? Oh yes, sounds exactly like the offerings of the late Sweet Occasions chain. And in fact, the new Sweet Thang is in fact a reincarnation of Sweet Occasions, which abruptly closed over the summer in what was later revealed to be a scandal involving unpaid employees, extravagant spending and more. In the comments on a post about the store closures on Edgewater Crime Blotter, a former employee made passing mention of one of Sweet Occasions' owners, Andy Singer, "concentrating on the purchase (with what money, I don't know) and opening of Sweet Thang in Roscoe Village." Reviews in Yelp -- which have been almost universally negative since the new location opened -- seem to confirm it.
Unfortunately, history appears to be repeating. Paychecks began bouncing, and after being confronted on the matter, Singer has closed Sweet Thang.
The employees aren't taking it lying down, however. They have teamed up with the Chicago Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues to stage a protest and press conference on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 3pm in front of the store, demanding payment (full press release follows after the jump). Maybe they can get some money for all the unpaid Sweet Occasions employees, too.
[photo credit: Rachelle Bowden]
SWEET THANG SOURS WORKERS
Unpaid Workers to Demand Stolen Wages from Upscale Lakeview Bakery
WHO: Unpaid Workers and Clergy and Community Leaders
WHERE: Sweet Thang Bakery, 2142 W. Roscoe, Chicago
WHEN: Thursday, November 20 at 3:00 pm
Workers who helped make Sweet Thang Bakery a success have been denied wages owed to them, with several of their paychecks bouncing, resulting in additional bank fees. After workers alerted the bakery owner on several occasions, the owner closed his café to the public but still maintains his lucrative wedding cake operations.
With support from Lakeview-area clergy and the Chicago Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues, the workers will lead the picket line and a press conference.
"It is an abomination that, in these tough economic times, workers trying to provide for their families should be lead on to continue working for wages they have yet to see," declared Interfaith Workers' Center director Adam Kader.
Visual: Workers, along with community and religious allies, will deliver stale bread and demand more than $9,000 in stolen wages at an upscale Lakeview bakery and the employer's home.