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Best Yet purchase of Waldbaum's, Pathmark stores approved by judge

A Waldbaum's in Deer Park

A Waldbaum's in Deer Park Credit: David Reich-Hale

A federal bankruptcy judge Tuesday approved bids from Best Yet Market to buy four Waldbaum's and Pathmark supermarkets on Long Island owned by the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.

Bethpage-based Best Yet Market, a family-owned nonunion operator, will buy three Waldbaum's stores, including Commack for $595,000, Merrick for $2.715 million and Westhampton Beach for $4 million, as well as a Pathmark in East Rockaway for $1.225 million.

Judge Robert Drain made the decision on the stores Tuesday at a hearing in federal bankruptcy court in White Plains.

Best Yet agreed to hire at least 25 percent of the store workers from among displaced A&P workers in return for the unions' dropping their objection to the store sales. The workers would be chosen based on meeting qualifications, and could also be offered jobs at other Best Yet stores.

So far, 28 Long Island A&P stores have been bought or bid on, and five more are scheduled to close, while 18 other stores remain unsold. The unsold locations may still be auctioned; if buyers are not found, they are expected to close by Thanksgiving.

Among the bids still awaiting approval is a $3.45 million bid from H Mart, a New Jersey-based Asian-American supermarket chain, for the Waldbaum's in Jericho. That hearing has been rescheduled to Nov. 5.

Workers and residents had filed petitions with the court opposing the sale to H Mart, claiming the company would not hire displaced workers because it specializes in Asian products.

Drain Tuesday also approved the sale of prescription records and pharmacy inventory of 74 A&P-owned pharmacies. CVS purchased the pharmaceutical assets from 58 stores for more than $25 million, while Rite Aid purchased assets of 16 stores for more than $6.387 million.

Pharmacy customers whose records are sold, and who have filled prescriptions within the past six months, must be notified that their prescription information has been purchased by CVS and Rite Aid.

Postponed until Nov. 13 was a hearing on A&P's request to reject its collective bargaining agreements with unions, implement a final labor proposal and terminate retiree benefits for about 2,100 people.

Last week, the judge verbally approved the sale of the Waldbaum's in Greenlawn to Shanghai Enterprises for $3.26 million, after company representatives said they do not intend to operate a supermarket, according to Mineola-based United Food and Commercial Workers Local 338, which represents Waldbaum's workers.

"Unfortunately for our members in that store, the ruling means that the fight to keep the Greenlawn store open and operating as a union grocery store has officially ended," the union said in a blog post last week to its members.

Last week, A&P said it would sell its intellectual property, including its store banners -- A&P, Pathmark, Waldbaum's, Super Fresh, Food Basics and Best Cellars -- and private label product brands.


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