Debt Forces Associated Grocers Of Maine To Close

More than 100 workers will lose jobs; 300 independent grocers in New England will be impacted.

Gardiner, ME: Associated Grocers of Maine (AGM) Inc. will be shuttered after 57 years supplying small, independent grocers.

More than 100 workers will lose their jobs in Gardiner and hundreds of retailers around New England may scramble to fill shelves after a judge granted Savings Bank of Maine's request last week to wrest control of the member-owned cooperative, according to published reports.

Court documents show AGM owed the Savings Bank of Maine more than $6 million, plus $138,000 in interest.

The receiver, James C. Ebbert of Aurora Management Partners Inc., Rockland, ME, is empowered to manage the bank's property, protect the bank's interests "and to conduct an orderly shutdown of business operations until a sale or other disposition," the court document says.

AGM has been in financial trouble for at least three years. More than 300 stores in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts are affected.

In a statement issued by Ebbert last week, AGM's last delivery of cigarettes and tobacco was on April 28. He said that Pine State Trading Co. is willing to supply AGM's customers with cigarettes, tobacco, candy and other items.