It's been nearly a month since North Avenue Fresh Market grocery store abruptly closed its doors, but it might not be long before another grocer takes its place.
John Hedges, executive director of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation, said in a telephone interview that at least one grocery store and one general merchandise store is looking to move in to the shuttered grocery store at 6209 W. North Ave. In previous incarnations the site was a Jewel Food Store and an Osco.
"There are at least two or three or maybe four entities interested," he said.
Hedges said OPEDC is not involved in the deal, but added, "It looks like it's going to fill up quickly."
Loretta Daly, Oak Park business services manager, said in a telephone interview that she also has heard that a couple of different parties are interested in the site. She said the village has not spoken directly with anyone considering moving into the location.
"All we hear at this point is what's being said in the community," she said.
North Avenue Fresh Market's parent company Michael's Market LLC could not immediately be reached for comment. Michael's Fresh Market filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Dec. 30, 2011.
Public records show the building was sold to 6209 West North Investment Group LLC in June 2004. That company's manager is listed as Yman Vien, who is chairman of American Metro Bank, which is located in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood.
Michael's Market LLC listed more than $1 million in debts in the bankruptcy filing to more than 100 separate creditors.
According to a Wednesday Journal article published in 2012, the company's five stores were turning a $50 million profit when the bankruptcy was filed. But in 2010 the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation prevented Premier Bank, Michael's Fresh Market LLC's lender, from lending to the company in 2010 because of "unsound" banking practices. The FDIC also prevented the bank from issuing credit.
Michael's said in its bankruptcy filing that the lending freeze prevented them from adequately providing "their customers with the desired range and depth of inventory."
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