Ray’s Food Place to close in Bend and Redmond

La Pine, Sisters and Prineville stores to remain open during bankruptcy

By Tim Doran / The Bulletin / @Newsinbendor

Competition in the grocery business and its own expansion led to the parent company of Ray’s Food Place to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday and announce the closing or sale of 16 stores, including those in Bend and Redmond.

Brookings-based C&K Market Inc. plans to keep open the Ray’s stores in La Pine, Sisters and Prineville, along with the Shop Smart store in La Pine, according to the company.

About 500 employees out of about 2,500 will likely lose their jobs as the company reorganizes under Chapter 11, the company stated on its website. According to its bankruptcy filing, C&K Market has assets in the $10 million to $50 million range and liabilities between $100 million and $500 million.

The company owns about 60 stores in Oregon and Northern California. They operate as Ray’s Food Place, Shop Smart Food Warehouse, C&K Market and Lo Bucks, according to its website.

The bankruptcy filing comes less than a month after C&K announced the sale of its 15 pharmacies, which operated in Bend and Redmond as Pharmacy Express.

Founded in 1956, the family-owned grocery business grew mostly by opening stores in small rural communities, often operating as the only grocery store in the area.

But the company expanded into more populated areas where it began facing more competition from Wal-Mart Supercenters and Costco Wholesale Corp. stores, it stated in its bankruptcy documents.

“In the last half of 2012, new ‘Super Walmarts’ negatively affected at least 30 of Debtor’s markets,” Edward Hostmann, whose company has been hired to restructure C&K Market Inc., wrote in a bankruptcy declaration.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. opened a supercenter in Redmond in fall 2007 and began selling groceries in its expanded Bend store in May. Natural Grocers, based in Lakewood, Colo., opened a Bend store in August and Eugene-based Market of Choice plans to build a grocery store just west of the Bend Parkway between Northwest Colorado and Arizona avenues.

— Reporter: 541-383-0360, tdoran@bendbulletin.com