Company saves Bay Area’s A.G. Ferrari Foods, Andronico’s from bankruptcy

Carli Baker/Staff
A.G. Ferrari, a grocery store specializing in Italian foods, will be acquired by Renwood Opportunities Fund.

After buckling under financial pressure and debt earlier this year, A.G. Ferrari Foods and Andronico’s Community Markets should be saved from bankruptcy by the end of this week.

The purchase of A.G. Ferrari by Renwood Opportunities Fund — a $50 million partnership between Renovo Capital and Rosewood Private Investments — was finalized Tuesday, while approval for the $16 million purchase of Andronico’s by the same company came Thursday, with the actual purchase expected to be completed by the end of this week. Both Bay Area chains filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allows time for a corporation to reorganize and pay back creditors, in April and August, respectively.

After months of talks with Renwood, which, according to a press release, focuses on “investments in distressed middle market companies,” A.G. Ferrari’s sale was finalized — a deal that Danielle Caponi, the chain’s director of marketing, said “everyone was pretty happy about.”

Caponi added that A.G. Ferrari does not plan on opening or closing any stores and currently does not have any plans for employee layoffs.

She added that with the Renwood acquisition, A.G. Ferrari will see a new CEO, John Clougher, who is the former president of Whole Foods Market. However, the founder’s grandson, Paul Ferrari, will remain president. Despite the new CEO, Caponi said there are no radical changes in store for A.G. Ferrari.

“No major changes — just working on making stores look great and even better than they were,” Caponi said. “No changes planned for now.”

At its height, A.G. Ferrari owned 13 stores in the Bay Area — two of which were in Berkeley. The chain is now down to nine locations, with one surviving Berkeley store on College Avenue.

Similarly, Andronico’s has shrunk from 14 stores to the seven, four of which are in Berkeley. The seven closures occurred prior to filing for bankruptcy in August.

The purchase of Andronico’s still has to be finalized, according to chain spokesperson Adam Alberti.

“The hope is that they close within a week but they make take longer,” Alberti said.

Although both will be owned by Renwood if the purchase is finalized, Caponi said there are no plans for any merging Andronico’s and A.G. Ferrari’s in the near term.

“They are two entirely separate transactions from what I understand,” Caponi said. “A.G. Ferrari is a wholesaler, so the only thing is that Andronico’s might become a customer of ours. But as for any crossover between the two — no.”

Furthermore, Alberti said Andronico’s has no current plans for layoffs and said that management under new ownership will stay the same for the mean time.

“I like Andronico’s. I don’t see any quality problems,” said UC Berkeley graduate student Sandra Sanz, who said she plans on continuing to shop at the store in the future.