There was much sadness in grocery world last night when news broke that two chains planned to close most of their stores. Supermarket News reported that Lucky’s Market, a specialty chain, would be shutting down 32 of its 39 locations (most of which are in Florida) after Kroger’s divestment last month. And then the New York Post reported that Fairway Market, the beloved New York City minichain, plans to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, “which means the grocery chain does not currently have a plan to continue to exist,” and would be announcing the closure of all 14 of its stores unless a buyer came forward.
But wait! Although no one is disputing the news about Lucky’s, Fairway has responded to the Post with a resounding “Not so fast, buddy.” (But no appreciation for the classic Post-style headline “Bagging it”?)
The Post had reported that Village Super Market, which owns Shop Rite, had expressed an interest in at least a few of the Fairway locations. Previous potential buyers “were scared off by its $174 million debt and expensive leases, including $6 million in rent on its flagship store, sources explained.”
USA Today has reported that “The company said it’s ‘been engaged in a strategic process and expects to soon announce a value maximizing transaction that will provide for the ongoing operations of stores. Our lenders remain extremely supportive of our efforts.’” It’s not exactly clear what that means, but New Yorkers are waiting with bated breath to find out and are, meanwhile, sharing their reminiscences (particularly of the cheese section) on Twitter.