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These Beloved Regional Grocery Stores Are Emerging From Bankruptcy

The new owner will keep most of the locations open under the same names.
kings employee

KB US Holdings, the parent company of the East Coast grocery chains Balducci's Food Lovers and Kings Food Markets, filed for bankruptcy in August, citing financial struggles dating back to pre-pandemic times. Albertsons Cos. division Acme Markets Inc. recently won a Chapter 11 auction for the two super market operators, which it plans to run under the same names.

Albertsons owns nearly 4,000 grocery and drug stores across the nation, including Safeway and Jewel-Osco, according to Supermarket News. With a $96.4 million cash bid, its Acme division won the auction for the nearly three dozen grocery stores from KB US Holdings, The Wall Street Journal reported. A backup bidder, TLI Bedrock LLC, had offered $75 million. (To find out which fast food chains may be leaving your town due to bankruptcy, check out 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)

Before the bankruptcy filing, the two grocery chains jointly operated 35 locations—25 Kings and 10 Balducci's—in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. The new ownership deal covers 27 locations, according to The Journal. While some store closures were expected during the restructuring of the company, loyal shoppers of the gourmet supermarkets will be delighted to learn that the footprints of the two brands aren't likely to change significantly—at least for now.

"We are so pleased that with this successful bid from Acme that both the Kings and Balducci's brands will continue their proud traditions of offering the finest food and premium service for our customers for years to come," Judy Spires, CEO of KB US Holdings, told Supermarket News in a statement.

The upscale grocer Balducci's was founded in 1915 in New York. The first Kings Food Market location opened in 1936 in Summit, New Jersey.

Before the pandemic, bankrupt KB Holdings reported historically low earnings due to competition from larger national chains and delivery services, as well as labor costs, according to its bankruptcy filing. While grocery stores did see an increase in sales this year, the brief uptick wasn't enough to inoculate the company from its years-long liquidity struggles.

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Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more
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