Mill at Vicksburg owner acquires assets of Kalamazoo bakery, plans wholesale operation

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The new company, Mackenzies Vicksburg, will open later in 2021 at a Moore-owned property, at 103 E. Prairie St. in downtown Vicksburg. Courtesy Mackenzies Vicksburg

Vicksburg native Chris Moore bought the assets of Kalamazoo’s recently shuttered MacKenzie’s Bakery from Water Street Coffee Joint owner Mark Smutek and plans to transform it into a wholesale bread operation.

The transaction was finalized April 19. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Moore now owns the bakery’s brand, recipes and equipment, all of which will be incorporated into a new company that will focus on producing wholesale bread to area retailers and restaurants.

The new company, Mackenzies Vicksburg, will open later in 2021 at a Moore-owned property, at 103 E. Prairie St. in downtown Vicksburg. The 1,700-square-foot location will primarily serve as a kitchen and distribution facility, but the bakery may eventually offer retail products via a small storefront space. The building is attached to 101 E. Prairie St., which Moore also owns. The facades of the adjoining two-story buildings have been restored and are part of Moore’s mission to revitalize downtown Vicksburg and restore many of its original buildings into historic centerpieces.

Moore, the owner of the $80 million mixed-use development The Mill at Vicksburg, which is currently undergoing renovations on the west end of the village, grew up enjoying MacKenzie’s baked goods and jumped at the chance to revitalize the brand and help bring more business to the village, which sits about 12 miles south of Kalamazoo and has a population of 3,400 people.

“There is a lot to be determined regarding this transaction, but one thing is for sure: downtown Vicksburg is going to smell great with the aroma of Mackenzies bread,” said Moore, who lives in Seattle, where he operates his businesses Concord Technologies and Old Stove Brewing. He frequently visits Vicksburg for extended periods.

MacKenzie’s Bakery closed at the end of 2020. Smutek soon afterward purchased the brand, web domain name and equipment. Moore’s Vicksburg leadership team, led by COO Jackie Koney, was approached by a mutual acquaintance who connected them to Smutek. An ongoing dialogue led to the acquisition.

Recently, all equipment from the closed bakery was transferred to Vicksburg, where Koney’s team will work to finalize renovation plans.

Former bakery owner John MacKenzie has signed on to help consult the new owners during startup. Additional full- and part-time staff will be hired to manage daily operations.

“We are looking to bring Mackenzies bread into stores and dining establishments across southwest Michigan, so our immediate focus is to gear up for large-scale bread production,” Koney said. “Once we get settled, we’ll evaluate expanding product offerings and delivery channels.”

The Vicksburg village leadership said it is pleased with the operation’s move to downtown.

“We look forward to welcoming a new iteration of Mackenzies into downtown Vicksburg,” said Jim Mallery, Vicksburg village manager. “There is a lot of potential for growth with Mackenzies Vicksburg’s products and sales channels, so we are excited to have them up and running and adding to our downtown charm.”

Mackenzies Vicksburg will soon share more information on its website about opening dates and product offerings.

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