CADIZ – One year is a long wait and the inconveniences of traveling to Hopedale, St Clairsville and other points in between for simple produce and other items not sold at area dollar stores since January, may finally be coming to a close.
The owner of Sander’s Market, Sander Bros. Inc., has placed a bid of $3.2 million for all four of Thorne’s grocery stores located in Jefferson, Alliance, Carrollton and Cadiz.
The bidding deadline for qualified bidders is Monday, Nov. 27th with a sale hearing scheduled for Nov. 30th at 10 a.m. in Canton. The “Stocking Horse Bid” (lead bidder) as it’s called is headed by Mr. Stanley J. Sander who currently owns three stores, two in Pennsylvania and one in the state of New York.
“We’re very community minded,” Sander said via telephone along with his attorney, Guy Fustine. Sander said if they are successful in obtaining the properties he hopes to open the Cadiz store sometime within the first quarter of 2018.
“There will be some changes and updates,” he said of the Cadiz store but emphasized that there would be no major renovations as far as the building itself is concerned. The upgrades, according to the Asset Purchase Agreement dated Oct. 24th, are stated as required, and involves removing or cleaning all materials dealing with food and its casings, generally speaking.
Regarding the term, “qualified bidders” all parties must consult with Huntington Bank, the current owner, or possessor of the four Thorne’s properties in Ohio, who also are listed as Briar Hill, Coffy, Bias Realty, Thorne Management and CPW Properties LTD.
Under bidding procedures a qualified bid, other than the Stocking Horse Bidder, must submit to Marc Merklin Brouse McDowell, LPA at 388 South Main Street, Suite 500 in Akron by 5 p.m. of the 27th of November, “which amount must be at least $250,000 greater than the Stalking Horse Bidder’s Purchase Price…”
Also, according to the entry listed in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern Division of Ohio Eastern Division, an auction “for the sale of the assets” is required to take place at the Akron address if there is to be more than one bidder entered by the deadline.
President of the Cadiz Community Improvement Corporation (CCIC), Mike Sliva stated that they had no agreement with Sander Bros. Inc. but that they were just monitoring the situation via court information.
“We’ve been kind of working with the process and are looking forward to welcoming Sander in the community,” Sliva stated.
He added that there were other interested parties involved but quickly dropped out when they discovered that all four properties were a package deal, as the others were only interested in “one or two.”
Sliva said he wasn’t really surprised that there has not been other bidders so far when considering all the properties involved and cost.
At the time of this publication there is no indication of another bidder to the four properties, which includes a warehouse and a small office complex (Salem), according to the attorney representing Huntington Bank, Christopher J. Niekamp.
Niekamp stated that the original amount of over $8.6 million owed the bank when Briar Hill Foods (consolidated listing of Thorne’s properties) first declared bankruptcy, is actually just under $3 million after other properties owned by Thorne’s had been sold off.
Some of the suppliers and their annual amounts for the Cadiz store that are required for disclosure among the 148 page court document, are rounded off here for 2014 as: C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. ($1.4 million); Pepsi-Cola ($170,000); United Dairy Inc. ($131,000) and American Electric Power ($78,990). For 2015, those numbers are relatively the same listed as top ten suppliers.
The approximate total for suppliers for both 2014 and 2015 came to over $4.5 million with the larger sum attributed to 2014 with $2.3 million in expenditures.
Regarding supplier costs of the three other sites for 2014 and 2015, Alliance totaled over $10.3 million, Carrollton at $10.4 million and Jefferson the largest at $10.9 million for a total of all four Ohio stores at over $36.3 million.
On a side note, Ohio Power (AEP) is also involved in a lawsuit against CPW for unpaid services, though the amount is unknown. They also appealed a decision by the bankruptcy court for utilities to not be cut off in those properties up for sale. A stay was ordered on Aug. 17th as a result of the bankruptcy filing and a subsequent order prohibited utilities from being cut off.