Andronico’s files for bankruptcy

Andronico's on Telegraph, one of the four stores in Berkeley. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Andronico’s Markets, the 82-year old supermarket chain founded in Berkeley, filed today for bankruptcy in Oakland. Four of the seven existing Andronico’s stores are in Berkeley: on Telegraph, Shattuck, University and Solano (the original store, founded in 1929).

Berkeleyside reported on the financial difficulties of the chain in May, and on a short-lived recapitalization plan.

The company’s announcement quotes CEO Bill Andronico today: “This is a bittersweet moment in our history. We have struggled mightily to keep going, but the combination of the economic downturn and a broken balance sheet was too heavy a burden.” In its bankruptcy filing, the chain listed debts of between $10 million and $50 million. The company is negotiating for financing and is also considering a sale to a private investor group.

The four Berkeley Andronico’s stores have been suffering recently from thin stocking of goods in comparison to local rivals. At the high end, it faces tough competition from two Berkeley Bowl locations and Whole Foods Markets. Safeway, which has ambitious plans to renovate its Berkeley and Berkeley-border sites, provides significant middle-market competition, and Costco in Richmond and Grocery Outlet (a Berkeley-based company) provide low-cost competition.

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, a four-year old chain owned by the giant UK company Tesco, has been looking for a Berkeley site, according to people familiar with commercial property in the area. Depending on the financing Andronico’s secures from bankruptcy, at least one of the Berkeley Andronico’s sites might be a target.

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  • Eric

    Unlike

    They were always friendly and courteous to me.

  • Chrisjuricich

    Damn shame, really. In a recession-or-whatever-we-are-experiencing economically, a high-end store is going to have it’s difficulties. It always seemed to me that whomever was doing the buying at that store, if they had a choice between getting the froo-froo expensive item or the reasonably priced item, froo froo would win out.

    I basically viewed Andronicos as another 7-11; a store to avoid unless in a rush. I feel for the employees for the transition some or all will face.

  • Chrisjuricich

    And another thing– if the financing goes through, Andronico guy will possibly stay on as head honcho. But frankly, wadr to headman, would you want the guy who was IN CHARGE to lead them out of their disaster?

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of unions, has anybody noticed that the Safeway on Solano prices are about 30% higher in general??  I figure the higher price(es) are to pay for the union so the store can still make a profit. 

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Angstrom B, many times that I have gone into safeway, the clerks are talking about their dates, how much they drank, how they felt after they puked, who they were sleeping with, and on and on and on, all the while, we the customers are standing in line to pay for stuff, the grocery store unions should be canned as terribly out dated. 

  • Anonymous

    “with unionized employees with good benefits and a living wage”
    dah–who pays for this–dah- yah right– we the customers pay for their  “good benefits and a living wage”.

    I dare say a lot of ‘us’ are out of jobs, it makes no sense to continue this, sorry, changes need to happen for all of us–

    Also makes sense WE should all join a union to get   ”’ good benefits and a living wage”‘