Superfresh to close Spring Valley store in July

Sunday - 6/12/2011, 5:56pm EDT

The Superfresh store in Northwest D.C. is expected to close in mid-July. (WTOP Photo/Dick Uliano)

Dick Uliano, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - One of the nation's first supermarket chains is about to close its last store in the nation's capital, disappointing shoppers in the Spring Valley neighborhood.

The Superfresh store on 48th Street in Northwest, owned by A&P, has been sold at auction, subject to approval of the bankruptcy court. The court is set to take up the sale at a June 14 hearing.

"It's really sad. It's a great place," said Betty Arbuckle of Northwest Washington.

She has shopped at the Superfresh store for decades and still calls it A&P even though it was among the A&P stores rebranded Superfresh in the 1980s.

"I've been shopping here for the past 15 years. I'm going to miss it," said Charles Binosi, another neighborhood shopper.

Shoppers say the store is reliable for excellent meats and fish, in addition to some of the best wine prices in Washington. The store employs about 55 people and has been operating on the same block for more than 50 years. A&P plans to close it in mid-July.

Kristen Gonzalez, pushing her toddler in a jogging-stroller, arrived at the store and recalled that her mom walked her to the very same store when she was a baby.

"It's upsetting," Gonzalez said about the coming closure.

"The prices are great. The people are wonderful."

The Superfresh store has been sold to a joint venture between Mrs. Green's Management Corp. and Village Supermarkets. Mrs. Green's is a New York-based company that operates health food stores which offer natural and organic foods and supplements.

A&P filed for bankruptcy protection in December. As part of its reorganization plan it has auctioned 22 Superfresh stores in Maryland, two in Delaware and the store in D.C.

Other stores in Maryland have been sold to the same joint venture. Click here to find out the winning bidders for other area Superfresh stores. Those auctions also are subject to court approval.

A&P expects the auction proceeds to be more than $40 million.

New Jersey-based A&P, also known as the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, also operates stores under the names Waldbaum's, Pathmark and Food Basic. It was founded in 1859.

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