Andronico's on University facing closure

The new owners of Andronico’s Markets announced Monday that they will close the  store at 1414 University Avenue, but will not shutter the other three locations in Berkeley.

Renwood Opportunities Fund, a partnership between Rosewood Private Investments and Renovo Capital, took over the bankrupt grocery chain last week, buying the seven-store business for a reported $16 million. Andronico’s, founded 82 years ago in Berkeley, had filed for bankruptcy in August.

City officials learned of the closure on Monday and have already been in contact with the building’s owner, Berkeley Bazaar Partners, to discuss bringing in another grocery outlet.

“The city of Berkeley is fully aware the neighborhood wants another grocery operator,” said Dave Fogarty, project coordinator for the city’s Office of Economic Development. “It’s a top priority to work with the owner to bring in another grocery operator.”

A Berkeleyside reader said a cashier at the store told her that all the employees would have to reapply for their jobs. Attempts to reach the corporate headquarters of Andronico’s and Renwood were not successful by press time. The $50 million Renwood Fund was established last year to invest in “distressed middle-market companies and special situation opportunities”.

The University Avenue store had the weakest sales of of the four Berkeley stores, according to reports. The other comparatively weak store, on Telegraph Avenue, has been spared closure in the current round of restructuring. The Solano and Shattuck stores have considerably greater sales.

Andronico’s and A.G. Ferrari saved from the brink [10.12.11]
Andronico’s files for bankruptcy [08.22.11]
Andronico’s plans recapitalization with new lenders and investors [05.25.11]
Four Berkeley Andronico’s face difficult conditions [05.24.11]
A.G. Ferrari closes Berkeley store, company bankrupt [04.05.11]

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...