ERIE, Pa. — One of Erie’s longtime grocery stores comes face to face with a deadline and hopes to keep its doors open.
The owner of Erie County Farms, Natalie Pacileo, has until midnight Monday to file her October finance report, proving she’s paying off some of her debt which is reportedly $117,000 in bankruptcy taxes and another $180,00 to her landlord.
Judge Thomas Agresti said during a bankruptcy hearing last week, that if Pacileo doesn’t file the report, she will face liquidation.
Pacileo’s attorney, Gary Skiba, said that the report will be filed on time, and that it is at Agresti’s discretion as to when he will make a decision and what’s next for the store.
The fate of Erie County Farms is a concern to many community organizations, and for good reason.
For more than 30 years, Pacileo has donated thousands of dollars of products to several of Erie’s summer festivals.
Some of them are only able to continue because to her generosity.
For decades, Pacileo has donated nearly all of the food for St. Paul’s Italian festival.
Organizers called it an incalculable amount, saying not only does it keep the festival going year after year, but it helps stabilize the Little Italy community surrounding the church on West 16th and Chestnut streets.
And on Erie’s east side for the Church of the Nativity, Pacileo not only donates to their annual Russian festival, but she also provides food for the needy every year around Christmas.
Organizers from both churches said it would be a tragedy to lose Erie County Farms. And it’s not just these faith groups she’s donating to.
Pacileo is also helping the people that come through her store doors.
“I can remember many, many times when just ordinary people not attached to an organization would just walk in and have a problem and they ask for a donation and she would go overboard for them,” chairman of the Italian festival Ron DiVecchio said.
These organizations want to help Pacileo after the support they’ve received from her. So there is a fundraiser being held at St. Paul’s on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.