PHOENIX — Closure of the town's only grocery store might be averted.
Brookings-based C&K Marketing, Inc. announced on Nov. 19 that the Ray's Food Place in Phoenix would be one of 16 stores closed or sold under a Chapter 11 filing.
But C&K spokesperson Grant Lunde confirmed some changes are under way that could affect the Phoenix location, though specific details were not yet available, he said.
"Negotiations are taking place," Lunde said.
Store employees have told customers that the store's parent company has told them the store would remain open.
Lunde said the Phoenix store is still on the closure list, but he said the store is no longer expected to close.
In a written statement, company President Greg Sandeno said, "Our Phoenix Ray's Food Place location is still in the midst of negotiations, and no timeline for sale or closure has been established. In the meantime, the store will operate as normal, serving the customers of the Phoenix area."
A Shop Smart location in White City is also on the closure list, along with three in Josephine County and one in Yreka, Calif., but no additional information was provided about those stores.
Whitney Threets, a veterinary tech for Exclusively Cats, located in the same complex as Ray's, said closure of the Phoenix grocery store would be a hard hit for the community, including local businesses.
"We do all of our banking in the Wells Fargo inside Ray's, and we buy all our supplies for our cats there, as well. If they close, we would have to start going somewhere farther away. There's already not much in this town, so to take away the only store would really hurt a lot of people," she said.
"A lot of people in this town don't drive, and Ray's is all they have."
The region's largest independent grocery chain, C&K Market, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Nov. 19 and announced plans to shutter or sell 16 of its 60 stores. Almost immediately, visitors to a community Facebook page began reporting that store employees were announcing a reprieve.
According to C&K Market's website, about 20 percent of the company's 2,500 employees will lose their jobs.
"It's always a tough decision to close a store no matter what kind of community or size of community that's in," Lunde said.
"Details are still being worked out on some things that changed after we made the announcement. At this time, there is no timeline for sale or closure of this store."
Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.