Rumors and reports about the Berkeley-founded grocery chain's financial troubles have been swirling for awhile, but today, it's official: Andronico's has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to the Chron, and is in negotiations to be bought by a venture-capital firm.
According again to the Chron, the company — which employs over 400 people throughout the Bay Area — has been crippled in recent years by debt incurred during an ambitious expansion into Danville, Walnut Creek and Emeryville starting in late 1990s. Recently, customers have been complaining that the store was understocked, and the Chron reports that some companies have been reticent to deliver to the grocery chain because of its precarious financial situation.
But if the deal with Renovo Capital LLC. goes through, all of the chain's remaining seven stores are expected to survive, at least for now, and the company will retain its CEO, Bill Andronico, whose grandfather opened the flagship Solano store 82 years ago. That said, though, Andronico's may be facing increased competition in the future — the Fresh and Easy grocery chain is said to be eyeing a Berkeley outpost, and Safeway is also pushing for a massive expansion of its Rockridge and Piedmont stores — so some are speculating that Renovo will have trouble resurrecting the chain.