The parent company of an Oak Park grocery store recently filed for bankruptcy, listing more than $1 million in debts, owed to more than 100 different creditors.
Michael’s Fresh Market LLC — which has six locations, including 6209 W. North Ave. in Oak Park — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Dec. 30. Almost all of the stores are turning a profit, averaging $50 million in revenue total each year, according to court documents. But the grocers were crippled, however, when its lender, Premier Bank, froze any lending to Michael’s Fresh Market in fall 2010.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation slapped a series of restrictions on Premier Bank at the time, because of their “unsound” banking practices. Those included forbidding Premier from issuing any additional credit.
In its bankruptcy filing, Michael’s Fresh Market said the FDIC’s action directly affected the grocery chain, leaving them without money to “adequately provide their customers with the desired range and depth of inventory.”
Messages left for the president of the company, George Dernis, at several stores on Wednesday were not returned by Thursday morning. The company’s lawyer also did not immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment. But he told the Chicago Tribune Tuesday that he believes the stores will eventually emerge from bankruptcy.
“We expect to reorganize,” attorney Forrest Lammiman told the Tribune. “There’s real life to this business.”
In addition to the North Avenue Fresh Market in Oak Park, the company also operates stores in Naperville, Harvey and three in Chicago. A Downers Grove location closed recently, according to bankruptcy documents.
The Oak Park location has been in business since 2005, taking the place of a shuttered Jewel-Osco.