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Interview: Andronico’s Markets Hits a Rough Patch

| May 31, 2011
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On May 20, Chronicle columnist Andrew S. Ross reported on various suppliers who were having trouble getting paid by Andronicos, the Bay Area grocery chain.

Last week Lance Knobel of Berkeleyside wrote about some of the challenges faced by the family-owned business, which was founded in 1929. He also received a statement from CEO Bill Andronico that the company was seeking new lending/investing partners.

(And in true Berkeley style, one of these posts has attracted 149 comments, a quick scan of which will reveal side-discussions on Talmudic law, cultural cannibalism, and the price of cheese.)

Last week, KQED News producer Molly Samuel interviewed Knobel about the Andronico’s situation. The chain has four stores in Berkeley, some of which are under heavy pressure, Knobel says, from food retailers like Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl, and — potentially coming down the pike – Fresh & Easy. While Andronico’s gets high local marks for a unionized, knowledgable work staff, it’s having a hard time competing on price and quality.

The troubles of Andronico’s are also part of a larger problem for Solano Avenue, a commercial street that runs through Berkeley and Albany. The large number of vacant stores on the thoroughfare, Knobel says, have retailers and councilmembers very concerned.

Berkeleyside’s Lance Knobel on Andronico’s

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