Potential buyers of Moo and Oink are still hopeful to work out an agreement to purchase the retail meat company even though the company is in bankruptcy and closed its remaining stores last week.
Moo & Oink closed two stores – its Austin store, located at 4848 W. Madison and a South Side store, located at 8201 S. Racine in mid-September. But a September 30th bankruptcy ruling forced the retail meat store to close its main store at 7158 S. Stony Island and a specialty store in south suburban Hazel Crest.
Unions representing Moo & Oink employees and its pension and health and wellness funds requested that the store be placed in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The unions claim that the 150-year-old meat company owes its pension funds money, more than $3 million according to an Oct. 1 article by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rick Firfer, an attorney for Silverman Consulting, which represents Moo & Oink on half its creditors, said that nobody fought the bankruptcy petition which the judge granted.
Also attorneys for Moo & Oink’s largest creditor, First Midwest Bank, told the bankruptcy judge that it plans to ask to take over the company’s assets to sell them in order to recoup some of its money.
However a group of investors are still looking to purchase all four stores to preserve jobs and keep the stores open in communities that have been labeled food deserts, said the investors’ attorney Exavier Pope, of The Pope Firm. Businessman Wallace Sims, of Wallace Sims and Associates, is advising the unnamed group. Sims led an unsuccessful bid four years ago to purchase Jays Potato Chips.
Pope noted the group he is representing was the first to come to the table after learning about Moo & Oink’s financial distress. He said the group is still trying to obtain financing to purchase all fours stores and to come up with a “mutual beneficial agreement that takes into account all the creditors’ interests.”
When asked if the bankruptcy filing hinders the investors’ plans to purchase Moo & Oink, Pope said it does not. But he added the investors have “been in conversation with First Midwest Bank.”
“We have a short period of time to get a deal done. We may not have time to accomplish all the things we want to do, but we hope to bring all the pieces to the table,” Pope said. “We had some very fruitful discussions on how to get it done.”