C&K Market Inc., operator of Ray’s Food Place and Shop Smart, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday.
The Brookings-based company will close 16 stores in Oregon and California, including the Shop Smart in Harbor . It will not close Ray’s Food Place stores in Brookings, Gold Beach, Port Orford and 44 other stores.
As part of the store closings, approximately 20 percent of its current 2,500 employees will be laid off, including 24 from the Shop Smart in Harbor.
In an announcement on its website C&K said it filed for bankruptcy because of increased competition from large discount stores, such as Walmart and Costco, which are moving into areas traditionally served by C&K stores.
“We seriously considered our options, and believe this approach is in the best interest of many of the communities we’ve served over the years,” said Doug Nidiffer, chairman of the C&K board, in a press release .
“We will retain about two-thirds of our 60 stores, tighten our corporate structure, and shed legacy costs,” Nidiffer
Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a company to operate while it restructures, and C&K will continue to pay employees and operate as usual in the stores that are not closing.
While no official date has been set for the stores’ closing, Grant Lunde, spokesman for C&K Market, said the stores will be sold or closed by the end of the year.
Shoppers at Shop Smart in Harbor on Tuesday said they weren’t surprised by the bankruptcy announcement.
Ione Trapp says she normally stops at the Harbor Shop Smart once a week to buy groceries.
“All this means is that Freddy’s will get more business,” Trapp said. “There will be less places to shop.”
Trapp said she was very unhappy the Pharmacy Express, which was owned by C&K Market, closed too.
The company has struggled in the past year, closing stores in Yreka, Crescent City, Smith River and Walterville, citing increased competition from discount stores. In October, the company sold off its 15 pharmacies, including two in Brookings.
The company will retain ownership of the Brookings-Harbor Shopping Center in Harbor, where the Shop Smart store is located, Lunde said.
Other businesses located at the center included: Sears, Barrons Home Furnishings, Brookings-Harbor Community Theater and the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles.
With the shopping center losing one of its anchor businesses, it could affect others in the center.
“My office is down here and I come in here for lunch every day,” said Don Scanlon, a CPA with an office in the shopping center. “It won’t affect my business at all, but I don’t think it will be good for every other business in the center.”