Ethnic Grocery Store Chain Files for Bankruptcy

BOSTON -- Americas' Food Basket, a three-store ethnic food grocery chain here, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The Boston Globe reported that in a meeting this week, Andre Porter, Boston's deputy director of the office of business development, said the company owed over $3 million dollars, including $750,000 to the city. In accordance with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, the company will go out of business and receive a court-appointed trustee to deal with any remaining assets.

All three shops, two of which were in Dorchester and one in Hyde Park, closed late last month because of sluggish sales and increasing debt. Four months before the stores closed, city and neighborhood groups managed to raise $370,000 in small business loans for the cash-strapped grocer, which was otherwise unable to pay its vendors, the Globe said.

The company was one of the city's biggest Hispanic-owned businesses, and the only nearby grocery store in several inner-city communities. Americas' Food Basket's founder, Cuban-born businessman Andre Medina, opened the first supermarket in the chain in 1992, bringing new life to an underserved area. The newest store opened in January 2005. About 125 employees were left jobless by the closures.

The Globe also reported that CVS, limited-assortment retailer Save-A-Lot, and local grocer Tropical Foods, which features items used in Spanish, Caribbean, West Indian, and African cuisines, had all expressed interest in taking over each of the properties formerly occupied by Americas' Food Basket.

The closing of the Americas' Food Basket locations leaves Boston with 32 grocery stores.
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