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An Uncertain Future for Hyde Park Co-Op

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Nov 13, 2007 6:30PM

2007_11_cooplogo.jpgThe Hyde Park Co-operative Market has faced some trying times recently. They closed their 47th Street location in 2005, but are still paying rent on the empty store space due to a lease in which they're locked in until 2023 that's held by Certified Grocers, who also serves as the co-op's supplier. While they've been paying rent on the 47th street location, they're a year behind on rent at their 55th Street store (note: Adam Peltz at Chicago Menupages writes that if you want to read that link, do so now before the new version of the Hyde Park Herald goes online). Board President James Poueymirou said the financial condition of the co-op is the worst it's been in 75 years.

The Co-Op board is holding a community meeting to determine the future of the co-op at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, Monday at 2 p.m. On the table for discussion are restructuring their debt so that they maintain good terms with their vendors, taking out a commercial loan to cover the debts, or declaring bankruptcy. Co-op shareholders will be given ballots at the meeting listing the options; the ballots will be due by Dec. 7. The results will then be published and action will be taken accordingly. Another possible solution rests with the University of Chicago, which owns the 55th Street store's space. They've suggested relieving the co-op's debt in exchange for leasing the space to another grocer.

In short, it's gut check time for the Co-op, and no one's certain what the future holds.

Image via Hyde Park Co-Op website.