Ukrop's may be up for sale

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond is buzzing about whether locally owned Ukrop's is courting potential buyers-- one of them possibly being North Carolina based-Harris Teeter.

A food industry magazine is reporting Ukrop's is exploring its options for its 28 stores. This has spawned a lot of online chatter as well as calls and emails to our newsroom.

Rumors that Ukrop's may be up for sale have created a firestorm on blogs and social networking sites like Twitter. It's also the talk on the streets.

Ukrop's customer Joe Russell hopes the rumors don't come true.

"I would hate to see Ukrop's go from Richmond because they have a great kind of customer service which you don't see a lot of," said Russell.

But the web site for grocery trade magazine "Food World" is reporting a prospectus has been issued to prospective buyers. The legal document discloses confidential information about what a company has to offer.

The online article claims Minnesota-based grocer Supervalu and Harris Teeter have both expressed interest in Ukrop's with Harris Teeter the frontrunner.

"It would be very disappointing for them to become another chain," said Ukrop's customer Kathleen Stansbury.

One internet posting also claims Harris Teeter has applied for 29 liquor licenses in Richmond.

But we checked with the Virginia ABC Board and as of Tuesday, Harris Teeter only has three liquor license applications pending for store locations in Virginia Beach, Chantilly and Manassas.

We reached out to both Ukrop's and Harris Teeter. Through an email a Harris Teeter spokesperson said its company policy not to comment on rumors. Ukrop's had no comment.

Ukrop's opened its first Richmond store in 1937 and now has 28 locations, statewide - 25 of them here in the Richmond area. It has dominated the market since 1986 but recently lost its number one spot to Food Lion for grocery sales.

Ukrop's has nearly six thousand employees. We'll bring you any developments on this story as they become available.

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