- Bogopa Enterprises, operator of the Food Bazaar chain, has offered $75 million for six supermarkets and a distribution center owned by bankrupt Fairway Market. Bogopa’s qualified overbid tops a $70 million bid for five Fairway stores and its distribution facility submitted by Village Super Markets when Fairway filed for bankruptcy protection in January.
- Fairway, which operates 14 stores, said it has also received expressions of interest for locations not covered by the bid from Bogopa. The bankruptcy court overseeing Fairway’s reorganization will hold an auction March 16.
- Abel Porter, CEO of Fairway, suggested that the grocer was able to attract a higher offer because the company has steamed ahead even as it winds its way through Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Fairway Market may have failed in its effort to expand beyond New York City, but Bogopa’s move to capture some of its bankrupt rival’s assets underscores the value grocery store companies place on prime locations.
Bogopa’s 26-store Food Bazaar chain already enjoys a solid position in the competitive New York market, and the grocer stands to build momentum if it is able to outmaneuver Village Super Markets in what could turn out to be a bidding war for Fairway’s most desirable locations and its distribution facility. Food Bazaar focuses on the same urban market where Fairway built its customer base, and recently opened the largest supermarket in the Bronx, its fifth store in the New York borough.
The decision by Bogopa to swoop in with a higher bid just days before the bankruptcy court holds an auction for Fairway’s assets means Village Super Markets will have to quickly decide if it wants to put more money on the table. Village Super Markets, operator of 30 ShopRite stores in New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania, has been working to grow its presence in New York City and in 2019 acquired the three-store Gourmet Garage chain there.
Village Supermarkets underscored its desire to expand further in New York City when it put in its $70 million bid for Fairway in January.
“We appreciate that Fairway's loyal customers are concerned about the future, and if we are successful in our bid, we are committed to keeping Fairway, including its name, unique product selection and value, a part of this community," Village Super Markets CEO Robert Sumas said in a statement Fairway issued when it entered bankruptcy on Jan. 23.
Fairway, which owns 14 stores, is going through bankruptcy for the second time in four years. The company, founded in 1933, ran into trouble after it went public in 2013 and started to expand into the New York suburbs, where the recipe it had developed as an urban food retailer failed to resonate with customers. The company struggled to recover even after exiting the bankruptcy process with a much lower debt load.