Local economic strategist weighs in on possible Ukrop's sale

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A local economic strategist weighs in on the possible sale negotiations between Ukrop's and a private equity group.

If such a group bought Ukrop's, shoppers may not notice a difference when they walk through those doors says Kent Engelke with Capitol Securities. Some customers we spoke with say the less change, the better.

"That's good that's probably better than the way it was going to go," said Janet Brooking.

"I shop here very often and I like what they offer and I hope it stays Ukrop's," said Judy Shires.

Some longtime Ukrop's shoppers, like Shires may get what they want. Supermarket News trade magazine claims Harris Teeter is no longer at the top of the buyer's list after being outbid by an unnamed private equity group.

Kent Engelke with Capitol Securities doesn't know about the possible deal or people involved but says private equity groups are typically made up of individuals or institutions with deep pockets and offer more flexibility than a publicly traded company.

"It could be a simplistic as private equity offered more money than a public corporation," said Engelke.

But Engelke doesn't believe it's about the money.

"The Ukrop's family, that does not connotate one of greed," said Engelke.

But rather principle. Engelke says with a private equity group, the Ukrop's family may still have a voice within the organization to help keep its longstanding traditions in tact.

"When you invested your life two generations into an organization you don't want some big behemoth to come in and completely destroy it you want to maintain some vestige some lineage," said Engelke.

Harris Teeter declined comment and Ukrop's has never publicly acknowledged a possible sale.

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