Bonnie Doon Ice Cream blames Obamacare for plant shutdown - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Bonnie Doon Ice Cream blames Obamacare for plant shutdown

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Bonnie Doon downtown Mishawaka location Bonnie Doon downtown Mishawaka location
Package of Bonnie Doon. The ice cream is sold at local grocery stores Package of Bonnie Doon. The ice cream is sold at local grocery stores

An iconic Michiana company is closing.

Tuesday, FOX28 talked with owners of the Bonnie Doon plant and downtown Mishawaka location. They tell us there are many reasons for the shutdown such as the declining economy and the rise in production costs. But the number one factor? The anticipated cost of the Affordable Care Act.

Adam Carroll is owner of the Lincolnway Bonnie Doon. Even though the Bonnie Doon Plant and downtown location are closing, he says he's not going anywhere. "I've been with the company for 21 years, it was my first job and I started working for them when I was 14."

He says the closing plant means he has to find a new ice cream supplier. "With the Obamacare it just will affect the businesses too much so that was their main reason for shutting down the ice cream plant at this time."

FOX28 talked with the CFO who confirmed the anticipation of the Affordable Care Act played a large part in the shut down, something Kyle Hannon, Elkhart Chamber of Commerce President says many small businesses are wrestling with. "Our businesses have been concerned, kind of wondering 'how much is this going to cost? How is it going to impact us?"

He says he doesn't expect any big layoffs or shutdowns like at Bonnie Doon because most companies are already making adjustments. "Companies that were right on the edge of hiring more employees have held back because they don't want to go over that magic 50 employee number."

FOX28 checked with St. Joseph County's Chamber of Commerce as well and they say they have the same concerns.

Under the Affordable Care Act, businesses with 50 or more full-time employees have to offer full-time workers a health care plan and Hannon fears this will stunt company growth. "We're still coming out of the recession and we're doing very well, but you wonder how much better we could be doing now if people could hire large numbers without worrying about implications."

At Bonnie Doon, Carroll is far from 50 employees, but he knows he too will be affected by the health care changes. "Everybody's just kind of uncertain about what's going to happen and what it all entails."

But he says he will do what he can to stay open. The Lincolnway Bonnie Doon ends it's season the day before Thanksgiving. It will close for the winter like usual, but opens again early spring.

A community organizer does have a plan to buy and reopen the plant.  You can find more on his plans by clicking here.

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