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C&K Market Appoints Wissmann COO To Lead Turnaround

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Karl V. Wissmann joined C&K Market Inc. as its COO on Monday.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to grow this independent chain. We have a lot of room to increase what we offer our customers,” Wissmann said. “I’ve learned a lot in my 40 years in this industry, and I’ve spent some time getting to know C&K Market, its stores, its communities and its strengths and weaknesses. I’m confident that we can create real value that our customers will appreciate. Big-box competition is something independents have dealt with for years, and I look forward to leading the company in this effort.”

C&K Market is based in Brookings, Ore., and operates more than 40 grocery stores under the banners of Ray’s Food Place, Shop Smart and C&K Market. C&K filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late 2013.

Edward Hostmann, C&K’s chief restructuring officer, says store operations are meeting expectations, and he expects to emerge from the bankruptcy proceedings in May.

“Our employees have responded to the challenge to make our stores the best they can be, and our customers are shopping our stores,” he said. “Karl brings an outside perspective, and his small-chain experience will help us become a stronger company.”

Wissmann most recently was president and CEO of Star Markets on the Hawaiian Islands, and he also has worked for Kroger and some of its subsidiaries during his career.

“The grocery marketplace has changed substantially over the past decade,” Wissmann said. “It may seem that bigger competitors will prevail, yet the new economy offers many opportunities for smaller, independent chains. We recognize that customers may now shop at both a big box and a local grocer. Our challenge is to listen to our customers and give them choices that will encourage them to shop more in our stores.”

Hostmann says C&K employees have worked hard through the transition.

“We appreciate the dedication of all of our employees,” he said. “They have elevated our customer service, and I want to express our gratitude to them for their hard work and loyalty.”

“Entering Chapter 11 was a difficult decision for our family,” said Doug Nidiffer, chairman of the board. “We’re confident that we made the right decision, and are pleased that Karl is joining us. Current operations are meeting expectations, which gives us confidence that C&K will emerge as a stronger, leaner company that will serve local community needs for many years to come.”


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