CHIPPEWA FALLS — The news that six Gordy’s Market stores will be retained by the Schafer family isn’t just good news for that family, it is good news for the entire community, area officials say.
Charlie Walker, Chippewa County Economic Development Corp. executive director, praised the companies for working out an arrangement that allowed Jeff Schafer to retain ownership of the stores in downtown Chippewa Falls, Chippewa Falls on Lake Wissota, Barron, Cornell, Chetek and Ladysmith.
“We knew the Schafers were going to do what is needed to be done to keep those stores,” Walker said. “They are a hardworking family and great entrepreneurs. I think it’s just awesome the way it all worked out.”
Jerry Jacobson, Northwestern Bank president in Chippewa Falls, stressed how much the Schafers have donated to area organizations for decades.
“Personally, it’s just fabulous news that they’ll be able to serve the Chippewa community like they have for the past 50 years,” Jacobson said. “The Schafers and Gordy’s and groceries go hand in hand. Everyone I know wants to see the Schafers succeed, after all they’ve given back to the community over the years.”
Chippewa Falls Mayor Greg Hoffman said he was excited to hear the news.
“I’m happy for them,” Hoffman said. “I’m ecstatic the Schafers will be able to continue serving the community. They have always been a giving family and donating to the community.”
Jeff Schafer, who was in Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon for the auction, said it has been an exhausting nine months. He declined to comment further other than to say the stores will retain the Gordy’s Market name.
Rick Schafer, who is now retired and no longer part of the business, said he was happy for his brother.
“I’m happy to see the Gordy’s name continue,” Rick Schafer said. “It will be nice to get back to our roots.”
The auction was at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. Attorney Michael Polsky, who was appointed as receiver to oversee the sale of the grocery chain and its assets, announced Wednesday afternoon that the Schafers entered into a purchase agreement to retain the six stores. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. The transaction still must be approved by Chippewa County Judge James Isaacson at a hearing Dec. 11.
On Aug. 23, food distributor Nash Finch Co. filed a lawsuit, claiming Gordy’s Market locations across western Wisconsin owe more than $86 million. The filing deadline for proof of claims for businesses was Thursday.
Gordy’s Market had 26 stores at the beginning of the summer, but several closed and, except for the six locations staying with the family, the rest have been sold. However, the sale of the Neillsville location has been held up because of confusion over ownership and who has the right to lease out the building.
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