gordy's

CHIPPEWA FALLS — Gordy’s Market Inc. dropped its counterclaim against food distributor Nash Finch on Friday and its request for alternative relief, paving the way for Chippewa County Judge James Isaacson to approve the sale of five Gordy’s Market grocery stores.

Nash Finch submitted the only bid at an auction Wednesday to buy the five stores at a price of $15.1 million.

Attorney Lauren Stanley, who represents the receiver’s office appointed to dissolve the grocery chain and sell its assets, told Isaacson at the beginning of the hearing that the parties had reached an agreement earlier in the day to resolve all the motions that were slated to come up in court that day.

“The buyer will hire essentially all the employees of Gordy’s Market Inc., and will assume all the PTO. The receiver believes this is in the best interest of all the stores, and we ask the court approve the sale,” Stanley told Isaacson.

Isaacson said he was pleased that the PTO was being covered, as well as an estimated $174,000 in outstanding health insurance expenses, and he thanked Nash Finch for willingly taking on those expenses.

There was only one potential objection remaining before the sale was finalized. However, Nash Finch also guaranteed it would fulfill the terms of a lease on the Chetek store, ending a claim by the owner of that building.

With the motions resolved, Isaacson approved the sale of the stores.

William Jacobs, Nash Finch vice president of treasury and corporate development, attended the hearing, but he declined to comment on the future of the stores, when they would be re-named, and if they would be temporarily closed during a transition period.

Michael Polsky, the court-appointed receiver, wrote in a court filing Thursday that certain items were excluded from the sale, such as cash on deposit, equipment leased by American Financial Network and other leased equipment, vehicles, and real estate connected with the operation of fuel stations.

The five stores that were sold Friday are downtown Chippewa Falls and on Lake Wissota, Cornell, Barron and Chetek.

A sixth Gordy’s Market store in Ladysmith was sold last month. Gordy’s Market still owns one store in Eau Claire on Clairemont Ave., but the company is in negotiations to sell that location to Hansen’s IGA.

Nash Finch filed a lawsuit against Gordy’s for $46.2 million in December, contending that Gordy’s Market Inc. “has no excess cash to get caught up on its delinquent balance,” and the grocery chain is on the verge of insolvency.

Polsky has set a deadline of April 24 for any creditors of Gordy’s Market to enter claims with the court if they see to participate in any dividends.

In 2017, there were 26 Gordy’s Market locations, but 20 of them were sold or closed by the end of that year.