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Dean & DeLuca not closing — here’s hoping

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While the catering side of Dean & DeLuca is “indefinitely closed,” according to the response I got from the company, the Soho store is not — and let’s hope that’s not just wishful thinking on their part. After expanding to 42 stores globally, Soho is one of only four still open (two here and two in Honolulu, oddly), which had local folks (M., K.) wondering when the death knell would sound here. The store opened in Soho in 1977, moved to its current location in 1988 but is now headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, which, you know, might be the essence of the problem. It’s the common tale of remote corporate ownership ruining a perfectly fabulous home-grown business that for a while expanded organically and actually made money.

There’s lots of stories on what went wrong, if you want to do the deeper dive: The Times reports that the company, which is owned by Pace Development in Bangkok, has defaulted on mandated payments to former employees and stalled payments to current employees. Eater has a good historical analysis, explaining how Pace, which bought the company for $140 million, had plans — as of 2014 — to expand to hundreds of stores across 15 countries. And then the Washington Post does a broader economic analysis of why high-end grocers are no longer riding the crest of the wave; it’s the smaller discount grocers that are trending. Finally, there’s also this farewell on Grub Street, which hopefully is premature.

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