Grocery operator says stores to remain open

A small-town grocer is assuring customers concerned about shrinking inventory in the past couple of months that the stores will remain open.

Jason Tracy, owner of Jason’s Super Foods, said the stores in Bottineau, Westhope, Mohall, Crosby and Lignite are being kept as well stocked as he is able in light of civil court constraints related to a personal, domestic issue.

“It’s a business I’ve run for 20 years and I built from one store, ground up, and it’s a family business. I care about every community that we’re in. I, personally, do not want them to suffer,” he said. “That’s why the best option for me was to sell them to qualified buyers.”

All the stores are for sale. A potential buyer is interested, but due to ongoing court proceedings, the sale has been blocked, according to Tracy.

In the meantime, money that would normally go into store inventory has been tied up in court costs. Tracy said Super Valu, the main supplier, still supplies the stores, although the amount of inventory that can be purchased is reduced due to restricted funds.

“In lieu of me getting paid personally, out of payroll I’ve been giving it back to the company to try and pay all the employees to stay on, because I hope at some point someone is going to come in and take them over,” he said of the stores. He said he also has borrowed funds to support the operations until circumstances can change.

Residents who depend on their local groceries have voiced their concerns about the inability to access many items and their fears for the stores’ futures.

“I’ve already guaranteed that not one of my stores will close,” Tracy said. “I won’t close them. Every community that we have stores in is a good community – a good, supportive community. We will exhaust all resources before that happens, and I truly believe that before any would even close that the court would make a better decision to have them sold.”


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