Michael Dusi Trucking and Logistics is closing business, letter says
Dozens of employees left looking for new jobs
–Michael Dusi Trucking and Michael Dusi Logistics are shutting down operations immediately, according to a letter sent Friday by employees of the company.
“We regret to inform you that Michael Dusi Trucking and Michael Dusi Logistics Warehouse, collectively known as MDL, will be shutting our doors effective immediately,” the letter says.
The business was founded 20 years ago by Michael Dusi as an extension of the Dusi family’s 90-year history of winegrape growing in Paso Robles wine country. In 2018, control of the business was taken over by outside investors, Tattooed Dog Holdings And Headhaul Capital Partners, LLC.
“Unfortunately, the investors who came in to save the company were not the business-savvy personas they projected to all of the loyal employees,” the letter says. The letter goes on to ask for help in finding employees new jobs, “If you have an opportunity available or know of opportunities, please help support us.”
The company has provided local wineries and breweries with shipping and distribution services, including warehousing, direct-to-consumer fulfillment, wine club services, regional bulk, refrigerated, flatbed, and dry-van trucking. Many of the company’s trucks sported colorful designs and trucker-style flourishes.
The news of the company closing has some local wineries scrambling, as it could affect dozens of winery operations in Paso Robles. One winemaker said he had to stop trucks from coming in until he figures out an alternative. Another operator said she was taken by surprise and was looking quickly for another wine storage facility.
“Most smaller wineries have inadequate space for storing cases of wine in a temperature/humidity controlled environment,” said Les Evans with Shadow Run Vineyards. “Dusi is one of the few options for storage in the Paso Robles area. Dusi has always been a great resource for us. We are going to miss them. Hopefully, whatever has gone wrong with their business model can be corrected. We need them. “
“We’re totally disheartened by this,” said winemaker Adam LaZarre. “We’ve been partners with the Dusi team for many many years and are going to be spending the weekend making room in our garage for what we can fit in for the time being. I feel for the loyal employees.”
Joel Peterson, executive director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, said, “This news is certainly surprising as I know dozens of local wineries use their services. We will continue to monitor this story.” He added, “I understand the warehouse is still open and operating and case goods are safe and secure. If people have additional questions they should reach out to the warehouse manager. There will be more information early next week.”
Firestone Walker Brewing Company has used Dusi Trucking for years. “We are shocked by this news,” said Adam Firestone. “Dusi has been our long term partner reliably carrying our beers across the state and beyond. It is a loss to our whole community but most especially to the loyal and hard-working Dusi team.”
On Friday afternoon, Dusi Trucking employees were still working in and around the company’s warehouse and truck yard at 3290 Combine St, Paso Robles. The company operates about 30 trucks and had as many as 68 employees at one point, according to Bloomberg.com.
J Dusi Wines is carrying on the Dusi family tradition of making wine in Paso Robles, but separate from the trucking company. “We share the concerns created by the abrupt announcement today by Michael Dusi Trucking and Michael Dusi Logistics,” the winery said in a message to the Paso Robles Daily News. “As most of the community knows, Michael sold the companies in 2018 and the new owners continued operating under his name. We wish the best to the employees and customers impacted by this unexpected turn of events.”
Letter from Michael Dusi Logistics, 2:15 p.m., Friday:
To Whom It May Concern:
We regret to inform you that Michael Dusi Trucking and Michael Dusi Logistics Warehouse, collectively known as MDL, will be shutting our doors effective immediately.
The saga of Michael Dusi Trucking and Warehouse companies is a long one and like all great sagas, whether good or bad, there must be an end. This one has been a very bad end. Many of the employees started with the company at the beginning or grew up seeing the big shiny Michael Dusi Trucks driving down the 101 or the 46 freeway. In the past year and a half, we’ve recruited new team members that uprooted their families to take an active role in transforming this company. Every one of us took immense pride in being part of a company that has been a part of the fabric of Paso Robles, the Central Coast, and the entire wine community.
Unfortunately, the investors who came in to save the company were not the business-savvy personas they projected to all of the loyal employees. We were given the choice to ‘keep on trucking’ and pay our rent, mortgage, daycare, etc. to continue to live and work in this beautiful place, or leave. The employees that remained until today have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into trying to make this company work, and we were gaining significant momentum. As we were beginning to see the fruits of our long nights and lost weekends come to fruition, the investors and company leadership summarily departed to the East Coast without warning. Effectively, we have been left to close down the company with no guidance and no warning from our leadership team. We are very sorry this must end this way.
You are our community, you are our neighbors, and you are our friends. Our kids go to school together, we hit the same bars on Saturday, and ask for forgiveness for it in the same places of worship on Sunday. The last thing we want to do is end our 20+ years of service with you with a bad taste in your mouth. You deserve better and we deserve better. We will be doing whatever we can to make this dissolution as painless as possible for you, our customers, our vendors, and our friends.
We will start by asking a favor. When our investors and current leadership threw in the towel, they left highly qualified talent with deep industry experience holding nothing but sand. As the last remaining employees attempt to close down the doors our primary concern is for our team, our work family, and that they land on their feet. We will be providing a list of our staff, their skillsets, and their contact information to any customer who wants it to keep this community strong. If you have an opportunity available or know of opportunities, please help support us, your neighbors. We are still here, in this community trying to sort out our situation. We’ve set up a temporary email address where you can reach out with opportunities firstname.lastname@example.org. Former staff members will continue to distribute this information long after we receive our final paychecks.
Next, we ask that you bear with us during this short wind down and dissolution. We know you have questions. For more than a few of you, the practices of this company have negatively impacted you. We have had our sleepless nights with these practices too. We will be functioning with an incredibly small skeleton staff moving forward. Today will be the last day for the majority of the under signers but we will do our best to limit the negative impact on our customers as much as possible.
Finally, we want to apologize again for the abruptness and pain this will cause. We did our best to make this thing work for you and for us and we would have achieved it if not for the failure of our leadership.
Thank you for your support and business over the years.
- David Safina, Acting Controller
- Abby Lopez, Director of Sales & Marketing
- Tommy Shultz, Brokerage/Dispatch
- Jorge Castillo, Napa Terminal Manager
- Seaira Clay, Lead Dispatcher & Load Planner
- Brittany Nicholson, AR/AP Specialist
- Joy Nielson, Billing Manager
- Ben Limpin, Director of Compliance, Safety & Fleet
- Gary Glasspool, System/Data Analyst
- Vince Limon, Chief Dispatcher/Terminal Manager
- Blake Falkenburg, Director of Warehouse Operations
- Shawn Bermingham, Driver Trainer
- Dawn Dutton, Warehouse Wholesale Lead
- Kirsten Miller, DTC Fulfillment Manager
- Olivia Richkarday, Inventory Specialist
- Asahel Perez, Warehouse Team
- Francisco Romero, Warehouse Team
- Carlos & Ada, Warehouse Team
- Our Dedicated Team of Drivers
Editor’s note: Though the letter above was sent from the company’s email address, Paso Robles Daily News cannot confirm each of the employees included in it personally signed-off on its message. A follow-up email from an employee said, “The use of the words undersigned did not necessarily reflect agreement with the content or character of the letter. Names and titles were only offered for employment opportunities.” Michael Dusi Trucking officials could not be reached by phone or email for comment on this story.