Chain of Grocery Stores Seeks Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection
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Chain of Western Grocery Stores Seeks Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

September 28, 2012


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A chain of grocery stores that serves customers in Colorado and Kansas is filing for bankruptcy, according to a recent report from the Denver Post. Sources say that Bella’s Market, which serves shoppers in eastern Colorado and western Kansas, is filing for bankruptcy and closing all of its stores temporarily.

The company’s CEO, Samuel Mancini, told reporters that four of the chain’s stores are expected to reopen soon, although he did not offer a reason for the temporary closings.

In its bankruptcy petition, the chain, which is owned by VM Odell’s LLC, claimed that it had more than 199 creditors, and it estimated that its assets and debts were both worth more than $1 million.

Mancini, though, believes that his company is still financially viable, and said that the chain was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of one "overly aggressive creditor."

In addition, Mancini is quick to note that, despite the company’s trip to U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Denver, Bella’s Market is "not behind on any debt payments" and Mancini has also promised that none of the employees at his store will be fired.

One change Mancini believes will help the grocery stores is a switch to a common name. Previously, all of the company’s stores had different names, but changing all the names to "Bella’s Market" will presumably help preserve customer loyalty.

According to Mancini, company officials decided to switch to a single name for its stores because they "were worried that the communities didn’t realize our commitment to them."

To help launch the new name, the company’s stores will soon receive brand new uniforms and hold several special events throughout the next year.

Mancini’s aggressive efforts to save his chain of grocery stores comes as little surprise to industry observers who have watched small grocery chains collapse by the basketful over the past few decades.

As larger chains enter smaller communities and offer lower prices, regional chains like Bella’s Market often collapse. But a cultural shift towards local food, as well as local companies, could help small grocery stores like Bella’s Market regain market share in small communities.

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