Magruder’s Will Liquidate Operations After 138 Years

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Magruder’s Supermarkets, which has operated stores in the Washington,DC area for more than 138 years, announced that it has sold one of its five stores and is in negotiations to sell the remaining four units. If the stores are not sold, the Rockville, MD based independent retailer, which was acquired by the Fanaroff and Steppa families in 1967, will cease operations, which would affect about 125 employees at both headquarters and the stores.

And as of January 21, all four stores –Vienna and Alexandria, VA and Rockville and Gaithersburg, MD have closed as negotiations for a sale of the leases continues.

The Magruder’s liquor store on Connecticut Avenue at Chevy Chase Circle was sold to Ki Yoon Sung and will continue to operate under the Magruder’s name.

On January 16, the company issued a letter from Magruder’s vice president Gary Bortnick (who is also a member of the family that owns the retailer) stating:

“We would like to thank everyone, including our incredible management staff, our hard working United Food and Commercial Unionized employees, our outstanding vendors and suppliers and of course the unbelievably dedicated and loyal customers that have allowed us to remain in business these past 46 years. Although this is a difficult decision it has been a pleasure and privilege to be an important part of Washington history dating from the days of President Ulysses S. Grant to President Obama and 26 presidents in between. However, now is the right time for our family to move on.”

About 100 unionized employees (clerks and meatcutters), who are members of UFCW Local 400, will be impacted by the closings. The Landover, MD based local said it will provide active and intensive assistance to its members working at Magruder’s.

“We are saddened by Magruder’s decision to leave the grocery and retail business,” said Local 400 president Mark P. Federici, who took the helm of the large Local in November. “Unfortunately, this is a reflection of the still-struggling economy, skyrocketing real estate costs, and competition against predatory retailing giants trying to drive the few remaining independent, family-run businesses out of the market.”
“Our hard-working members did everything possible to keep Magruder’s alive,” Federici added, “and we will do everything possible to ensure that no one is left behind. Our Magruder’s members can count on their union to help them through this challenging time and empower them to achieve a better future.”

Bortnick noted that vendors have contacted him concerning invoices that are still outstanding.

“We are working with Invotex Group, an outside professional financial consulting group, to help us with lease assignments, other landlord matters, union pension liabilities and outstanding vendors’ receivables. Invotex Group has contacted many of our vendors and has asked them to be patient as it is a complex process that takes time to wind it down. We hope to have a resolution to our issues in the near future,” Bortnick stated. “We would like to thank UFCW Local 400 for reaching out to our employees during their job search, as not only union employees, but store management was able to attend a job fair which they coordinated.”

Magruder’s was established in 1875 in Washington, DC by John Magruder.