ERIE, Pa. — After several deadlines and extensions, one of Erie’s longtime, family-owned grocers is being forced to close its doors and liquidate.
Erie County Farms has been around for decades, but despite best efforts, the financially-troubled store can’t be saved.
The discount grocer at 2256 Broad St., will close for good Dec. 6.
Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Agresti has ordered the store into Chapter 7 bankruptcy, forcing store owner Natalie Pacileo to begin liquidating.
“Despite best efforts, not every financially troubled business can be saved through means of Chapter 11 reorganization,” Agresti said in a court document. “The court concludes that, despite being given every reasonable chance available, the venerable local institution known as Erie County Farms cannot be saved and instead must be liquidated. For that reason the court will covert the debtor’s case to Chapter 7.”
Agresti said that it’s been a year since these bankruptcy struggles started and since then, things have only gotten worse financially.
Pacileo has only profited three out the 11 months she’s been in bankruptcy and owes thousands of dollars to her landlord and produce companies, as well as tax payments.
The store lost $65,000 in the last two months.Pacileo has nearly $130,000 in unpaid federal and state payroll taxes.
Employees of the store were also not being paid on time and some were loaning Pacileo money.
Now she must been liquidating immediately. Pacileo has until Dec. 6 to liquidate her assets.
No word on whether or not the store will remain open that long or not.
Agresti noted on multiple occasions that this case was a difficult one, but said every business struggling financially cannot be saved.