Gordy's Market

Troubled Wisconsin grocer Gordy’s Market operates a store at 1607 George St., La Crosse.

Erik Daily, La Crosse Tribune

Two La Crosse area grocers are filing objections to the recent auction of some Gordy’s County Market locations, including La Crosse.

The motions were filed Tuesday and a hearing is set for Thursday morning in Chippewa County Circuit Court to finalize the results of Monday’s auction of Gordy’s properties held in Milwaukee.

In one of the filings, attorneys for Quillin’s Quality Foods argue the winning bidders for stores in La Crosse, Arcadia and Galesville also needs to receive the blessing of the properties’ landlord, Hegenbarth Investments LLC.

Gordy’s, a Chippewa Falls-based grocery chain, announced in September that it was heading into receivership after Nash Finch, a Michigan-based food supplier, brought a lawsuit in Chippewa County Court claiming Gordy’s owed $86 million. The troubled chain has sold several of its locations to Festival Foods as well as closing a number of others in recent weeks.

Quillin’s bid against Nash Finch in the auction, with Quillin’s bid coming in at $450,000 and Nash’s winning bid at $550,000. The filing states Quillin’s has come to an agreement with Hegenbarth on assigning terms of the lease of the properties to Quillin’s, and the lawyers stated their belief that Hegenbarth will not come to an agreement with Nash on the sale.

The filing goes on to state that Quillin’s is willing to be the backup bidder for the Hegenbarth stores at the higher $550,000 price tag. Messages left at Quillin’s offices in La Crosse were not immediately returned Wednesday.

A similar filing was made by lawyers for Hansen’s IGA, who objected to the auction results for the sale of Gordy’s Neillsville Foods. Hansen’s IGA bid $125,000, which came in second to bidder Randy Goetz’ offer of $150,000.

Hansen’s lawyers argue Goetz also needs to get the consent of the store’s landlord, Schafer Properties of Chippewa County, and that Hansen’s would be willing to match the $150,000 offer as a backup bidder.

“Goetz was allowed to increase his bid to an amount greater than Hansen’s bid, but subject to Schafer’s consent to an assignment of the lease,” Hansen’s attorney Andrew Bosshard of La Crosse stated in the motion. “This unfair change in auction procedures created an uneven playing field because Goetz could continue raising his offer with a contingency that he cannot satisfy, thereby compelling Hansen to effectively bid against itself, and creating the illusion of a fair auction.”

Quillin’s started in a single store in La Crosse in 1949 with founders Ed and Greta Quillin and later added locations in Minnesota and Iowa. The stores remain family owned by Tim and Mike Quillin, third-generation descendants of Ed and Greta.

Hansen’s IGA operates nine store locations in western Wisconsin. The family-owned grocery chain started in 1968 with a small store on Commercial Street in downtown Bangor.

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Nathan Hansen has been the Education Reporter for the Tribune since 2014. Prior to that, he covered education, agriculture and business topics for the Winona Daily News. He is always on the lookout for news tips and can be contacted at 608-791-8234.

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