A few weeks ago, the much beset upon C&K Markets, parent company of Ray’s Supermarkets, announced that they were filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and restructuring the company. About a third of their 60 supermarkets were restructured out of existence, leaving people staring down the barrel of unemployment just in time for Christmas.
No winners here. This is a bitter Christmas time tale of heartbreak and financial trouble that normally serves as the intro to a holiday comedy.
For the Philomath Ray’s, now would probably be a good time for Chevy Chase to show up with the wacky scenario for them to turn things around. The store was one of the 16 recently marked for death across Oregon and California.
The exact date of the closure hasn’t been announced yet, the employees don’t even know yet when their last days will be.
“They won’t tell us that until a couple days before. They don’t want everybody to bail,” said one Ray’s employee when asked of the exact closing date.
I’m infinitely sympathetic to the staff of Ray’s, losing their jobs at the worst possible time. According to the C&K corporate website, the company will be helping them find work, whatever that means.
I’m also somewhat sympathetic to the residents of Philomath, including myself, who now have to drive an additional 4 minutes to Safeway for shopping. And no longer have a convenient local market we can walk to.
Here’s who I’m not that sympathetic to: the inept bunglers in charge of Ray’s, be they C&K corporate honchos or some local management team.I took the picture accompanying this article, while shopping in Ray’s shortly before the closure was announced. It betrays a misunderstanding of basic economics so profound it’s just surprising they didn’t go out of business sooner.
Which is to say nothing of the fact that anyone who shopped there knows their selection was terrible and their prices non-competitive. I like to support a local business, but few businesses made it as hard to do as Ray’s.
The landlords of the space where Ray’s is limping to the finish line did not respond to a request for comment, so it’s unknown at this time what will become of the space. I’ve got a suggestion for whoever does take over: learn what is meant by the phrase “buying in bulk.”
by Ygal Kaufman