Susan’s roasting business will end

Kevin Gareau

Former employees will receive wages

Susan’s Coffee and Tea will close its roasting operation and is also planning to sell its Akron store.

Owner Linda Smithers said the roasting operation will be merged with a company in Cleveland, though she said she could not reveal the name of the company because the papers have not yet been signed. She also would not offer further comment on the potential sale of the Akron store.

Smithers lives in Florida, and she said the difficulties of being an absentee owner, along with the current economy, were the main reasons for the merge.

“For us to remain independent is not a good solution unless I were to move up to Cleveland,” Smithers said. “And even then, the economic situation would not guarantee success.”

When the Kent Susan’s store closed in March, Smithers said she planned on keeping both the roasting operation and the Akron store open, and she pledged to sell Susan’s coffee in local businesses.

Smithers said local businesses still will sell Susan’s coffee because as part of the merger, the Susan’s brand will exist.

Smithers also acknowledged that former employees from the Kent store recently filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor, alleging they did not receive their final paychecks. She said the problem is being resolved, and all former employees will receive their paychecks by Thursday.

A former Susan’s employee, who asked not to be identified, said several employees filed complaints with the Department of Labor after hearing Susan’s did not have enough money to pay them. She said she has talked to some of her fellow former employees, and they have now been paid.

Contact public affairs reporter Kevin Gareau at [email protected].