Retailer bankruptcy could involve millions in PACA claims

05/30/2013 06:45:00 PM
Tom Karst

Phoenix-based Pro’s Ranch Markets filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 28 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Arizona.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a company to reorganize if a judge approves the plan and if the creditors agree the plan can be confirmed.

Pro’s Ranch Markets is a Hispanic-oriented grocery chain with stores in seven stores in Phoenix, one store in Las Cruces, N.M., one store in Albuquerque, N.M., and two stores in El Paso, Texas. The grocery chain employs 2,235 employees in four states, according to court documents.

The retailer said a review of its pre-petition Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act potential claimants found 83 fresh produce suppliers were owed about $7.2 million.

The bankruptcy proceeding includes: PRM Family Holding Company LLC; Prodigio Mercado, LLC; Pro’s ABQ Ranch Markets LLC; Pro’s ELP Ranch Markets LLC; Pro’s ELP Ranch Markets Beverage Company LLC; Pro & Son’s LLC; Pro’s Ranch Markets (CA) LLC; and Provenzano’s LLC.

“Operations are continuing and we look forward to proposing a reorganization plan,” said Kasey Nye, partner with Mesch, Clark & Rothschild, Tucson, Ariz. The firm is the attorney for Pro’s Ranch in the bankruptcy proceeding.

Nye estimated the total number of creditors for Pro’s Ranch Markets is in the thousands. Bank of America — the lead secured creditor — alleges it is owed more than $40 million, Nye said.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Arizona said May 29 that Pro’s Ranch Markets had not yet presented complete lists of assets and liabilities; those documents are due before mid-June.

Jason Klinowski, agricultural and food law attorney from the firm of Freeborn & Peters LLP, Chicago, said the grocery chain apparently has a limited pool of assets from which to pay its creditors.

“If the debtor’s voluntary petition accurately reflects the amount of assets in the debtor’s estate, then I think that PACA creditors will be well-advised to quickly object to the debtor’s use of the cash collateral and start looking for alternative sources of recovery,” he said May 30.

In court documents May 28, the company blamed the filing on increased competition, the general decline of the economy in the Southwest, the “adverse, negative and chilling effect” of Arizona’s immigration law and an immigration audit which its competitors supposedly were not subjected to.



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EL SUPER    
PHX  |  May, 30, 2013 at 09:43 PM

WHY?

Daniel Torres    
Gonzales Ca.  |  May, 31, 2013 at 12:00 PM

1. Mismanagement 2. Poor Quality produce/products/meat 3. Not paying attention to detail with offices 500 miles + from stores 4. Living above your means 5. I know everything about grocery marketing 6. I know everrthing

Ed M    
Phoenix Az  |  May, 31, 2013 at 04:22 PM

no management is the problem no action taken when changes/sales/demand for items occur at stores here in Phoenix Comment about poor quality merchandise is correct

Dean Gilbery    
Phoenix Az  |  May, 31, 2013 at 08:41 PM

what happened to Dan Torres earlier comments?

Jack Thomsen    
New Mexico  |  June, 01, 2013 at 08:37 AM

What a shocker! Ranch Market in Albuquerque is on the hispanic southwest side - so the wealthiest people don't go over there. BUT - Ranch has the best produce, best deli, best bakery, and best meat in the city. Try their buffet on weekends.... amazing. This anglo makes a trip at least once a month for their breads, [did I mention best bakery?[ and fried whole fish... If this company is bankrupt... that means excellence is being squeezed out by crony capitalism.... do NOT tell me this is not a winning operation. I take friends from California to this store as an outing -- I mean long time LA natives... and they ask WHY" DON'T WE HAVE ONE OF THESE?? I dunno.. this and King Soopers in Glendale, Cherry Creek Denver - are the two most outstanding stores I've visited.

YT    
Albuquerque  |  September, 02, 2013 at 11:50 AM

They do not have the best produce, the best deli, the best bakery nor the best meat in town. This Mexican-American lives a few blocks from that store and I can tell you they DO NOT have the best in any of these categories. As for their buffet on the weekends, gross! Their prepared foods in the restaurant section are greasy, greasy, greasy. Their food is some the most disgusting examples of Mexican food around. I used to go their bakery regularly. Not any more. One time I bought a tres leches (three milks) cake there. When I cut into it, it had a big long hair in it. Gross. There are clear acrylic bins where they put the freshly baked bolillo rolls. The customers regularly don't use tongs to get them out. They rummage through the rolls with their dirty hands. Gross! As for their meat counters...they have been stinking, I mean literally stinking for weeks now. If you walk in through the north side doors near the liquor section to go near the meat counter it stinks like lots of things are dying out there. It's disgusting. I've stopped buying meat there. As for the produce section. Just a few weeks ago I bought some cilantro. I was going to wash and chop it and I noticed something moving. I looked closer and there was a green caterpillar in the cilantro. I picked it out and kept it in a jar and feed it cilantro leaves. It formed a cocoon but then died so I don't know what insect it was. When they first began all their employees only spoke Spanish. They'd get offended if a customer spoke English to them. Maybe there was good cause for the government to have an immigration investigation. Las week they were red-flagged by the health dept. In this case, mediocrity and filth are being squeezed out by capitalism.

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