Ray's Food Place parent to exit bankruptcy soon

C&K Market anticipates finishing reorganization in May; company has no plans to close any more stores
Ray's Food Place shoppers Salvador Sabino and Noelia De La Cruz found out about the store's closure and bankruptcy while shopping. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell photoBob Pennell / Mail Tribune photo

Troubled grocery chain C&K Market Inc. said Tuesday it expects to emerge from bankruptcy in May and has named Karl V. Wissmann chief operating officer.

The Brookings-based parent company of Ray's Food Place and other grocery stores in Oregon and Northern California filed for Chapter 11 court protection Nov. 19 and has since sold off its pharmacies and closed or sold 15 stores. It continues to operate stores in Central Point, Eagle Point, Gold Hill, Jacksonville, Merlin, Phoenix, Rogue River and Talent.

Last month, the company announced the departure of president and CEO Greg Sandeno, although he will serve as a consultant through the restructuring process.

"Our employees have responded to the challenge to make our stores the best they can be, and our customers are shopping our stores," Edward Hostmann, C&K's chief restructuring officer, said in a statement.

Wissmann is a 40-year veteran of the grocery industry, most recently as president and CEO of Star Markets in Hawaii. He previously worked for Kroger and some of its subsidiaries.

"I've spent some time getting to know C&K Market, its stores, its communities and its strengths and weaknesses," Wissmann said. "Big-box competition is something independents have dealt with for years, and I look forward to leading the company in this effort. It may seem that bigger competitors will prevail, yet the new economy offers many opportunities for smaller, independent chains. We recognize that customers may now shop at both a big box and a local grocer. Our challenge is to listen to our customers and give them choices that will encourage them to shop more in our stores."

There was no immediate word on whether the company planned to name a new CEO prior to exiting Chapter 11. The company announced earlier this month it was selling its northernmost store, in Willamina.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, friend him on Facebook and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/EconomicEdge.

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