Formica Brothers Bakery has closed its bakery cafe on Tilton Road in Northfield.

Owner Frank Formica, who is also the Atlantic County freeholder chairman, said that with the difficult economy, he must concentrate on the company’s primary bread business in Atlantic City.

Formica said that since the bakery cafe opened in 2008, the company had put $500,000 into the business in the Kensington Square shopping center.

A sign Monday on the closed bakery cafe said: “This location is no longer open for business. … Feel free to visit our Atlantic City cafe at 2310 Arctic Ave. ... Frank D. Formica.”

He said that when he opened the Northfield location, he researched the local market and found plenty of potential customers nearby, many living in rental housing that was 92 percent occupied.

Then the casino industry suffered the economic downturn and increased competition, cutting its work force in half and dropping the rental occupancy in his market to 50 percent, he said.

“I don’t like to lose half a million dollars, but what am I going to do?” Formica said. He said the Northfield location was seeing “a $5,000 to $10,000 shortfall a month.”

He said he’s also retooling the company’s primary Atlantic City bread operations and couldn’t deal with both challenges at once.

Formica said he was able to find new positions for nearly all of his Northfield employees, either at the company’s Atlantic City operations or with other businesses.

The store, which he said was intended to be similar to a Panera Bread restaurant, served sandwiches on hand-crafted breads, tomato pies, pastries and soups, as well as espresso drinks.

Formica, who is also a musician, equipped the cafe for live entertainment and tried to make it a venue for music as well.