On Tuesday, the final chapter of the glorious and inglorious history of Phar-Mor Inc., a deep discount drugstore chain, could be written when a private auction is held for the sale of the company. The successful bidder would have to be approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge William T. Bodoh, and while the judge has discretion in making his decision, we would urge him to use what Snyder's Drug Stores is proposing as a benchmark.
The Minnetonka, Minn., company operates about 300 stores around the country and says that if it is successful in buying Phar-Mor, it would keep open six of the eight Phar-Mor outlets in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys, would move some corporate workers to the region from Minnesota, and would maintain the distribution center in Austintown.
Ties that bind
While we acknowledge that Phar-Mor's bankruptcy is a much larger issue than the economic well-being of the Mahoning Valley, the ties between the company and the region cannot be ignored. When businessman Michael I. Monus launched the company more than a decade ago, he had a great deal of support from area residents and received significant help from local governments, development groups and the state of Ohio.
The Valley reveled in Monus' success and mourned his downfall, which triggered Phar-Mor's slide.
Now, the company is up for sale, and there are several interested parties. It is not known whether any or all of them are willing to make the kind of commitment to this region that Snyder's Drug has made, but we believe the preservation of as many local jobs as possible should be a factor in the selection of a buyer.