Published February 5, 2010
As most of us know by now, our beloved local grocery store P&C will be closing its doors in February as its parent company, Penn Traffic, has filed bankruptcy for the third time in 10 years. However, a surprising twist has surfaced. An article in The Watertown Daily Times reports that a small group of P&C employees have secured enough financing to purchase the grocery store chain in hopes of keeping the small grocery chain alive.
Our local P&C declined to comment on the events that have happened in the past week, but I was able to get some current information from other local newspapers. As mentioned in The Watertown Daily Times article, the goal of buying back the chain is to keep the 5,600 people already employed a part of the company. Many of these people have spent their entire careers working for the chain and having to say goodbye would obviously be very stressful and difficult, especially for those that have no other career options. Unfortunately it seems that bigger and more
powerful companies will be able to override the employee’s offer, which should come as no surprise.
A recent article in the Clarkson Integrator stated that Price Chopper has made a bid of $54 million to purchase 22 P&C stores. These locations would then be closed for 6-12 months while the company renovated the buildings. Unfortunately, Price Chopper does not plan on rehiring former P&C employees in order to eliminate the need for a union. Price Chopper is a non-union business that pays a higher salary than P&C and has been known to treat their employees better. Another competitor, Top’s Friendly Market, has offered $85 million for all 79 locations with an additional $70 million offered to cover the debt of Penn Traffic Co. Top’s has also decided to keep as many current P&C employees as possible and continue to operate in a majority of current locations.
As of now, it seems that although Price Chopper’s offer equals out to a larger sum per store, Top’s offer is more appealing as it will affect fewer people and hopefully still maintain the charm of a small grocery chain. More information should be appearing in the next couple of weeks as a decision is reached.