Some merchants at Brookings-Harbor Shopping Center in Harbor are breathing a little easier now that the property has been taken off the auction block.
Others, however, are still wondering what the future might hold for the shopping center that lost a major grocery store and a number of businesses have moved or closed in the last few years.
“It is a little less stressful because we know where we stand,” said Lorraine Gordon, spokeswoman for the shopping center’s merchant association. She has operated a laundromat at the center since 1981.
There are currently about a dozen businesses that lease retail space at the center.
“With C&K Market owning it, we still have local people trying to keep it alive,” Gordon said.
Jimmy Martini, vice present and controller for C&K Market, told the Curry Coastal Pilot that the company, which recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, removed the property from auction last week.
The deadline for bids was July 15.
“There just wasn’t a lot of interest,” Martini said on July 18. “It’s still listed for sale.”
Martini notified Gordon and other merchants about the cancellation of the auction last week.
He said there was some confusion over the ownership of the property, located on Shopping Center Avenue.
“C&K never lost ownership of the property,” he explained. “We hired a company to list the property for sale, and also conduct the auction.”
The center is one of the largest commercial properties in Harbor and was up for sale as part of C&K Market’s attempt to reorganize in bankruptcy proceedings.
The company, facing a debt of $100 million to $500 million, filed for bankruptcy in November 2013 in Eugene. C&K Market emerged from bankruptcy earlier this month after a judge approved an order allowing the company to operate without court supervision.
C&K, which opened its first store in Brookings in 1956, operates 45 grocery stores in Oregon and California. Last fall, the company closed stores in Harbor, Smith River and Crescent City, and closed all its pharmacies, including Chetco Pharmacy in Brookings and Pharmacy Express in Harbor.
The closing of ShopSmart and the Pharmacy Express at the center was a big hit to other merchants, who, along with customers, wondered about its future, Gordon said.
“It’s been a tough year for all the businesses; the place looks so empty,” she said. “I’m happy that C&K is coming out of bankruptcy. It would have been a lot more stressful if we got new owners, and we had to negotiate new leases. This is much better.”
The center, she said, still needs additional merchants.
“We really need some sort of anchor store. We also need a restaurant,” she said.
Terry Adams, owner of Barron’s Home Furnishings, was less optimistic.
“I’m still uneasy about the future of the center,” said Adams, who didn’t think the auction was necessarily a bad thing.
“I thought it was a positive thing; that the center was going to be purchased. That meant that somebody might come in and make the changes that are needed.”
Adams pointed to an accident several months ago when a car drove through a store window. The window was boarded up but hasn’t been repaired by C&K Market yet.
“I understand that C&K is in a tough spot, with the bankruptcy and all, but things that should be happening here just aren’t,” he said.
He, too, hopes that another anchor store will open in the center.
“Foot traffic in general has slowed, and there are still rumors out there that we’re going out of business,” Adam said. “I tell my customers we’re not. It’s business as usual.”