Knechtel Food Market closing after 30 years

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News

After 30 years of serving Lucknow, Knechtel Food Market is closing its doors, but not because the owners are ready to.

On Friday, owners Brian and Kathy Knechtel posted a notice on Facebook that their landlord, 68687 Ontario Ltd., has notified them of the intention to seek a court order for them to vacate the premises. The Knechtels have until Sept. 1 to pack up the grocery store and move out.

The Knechtels say they have been attempting to negotiate a fair market rent and had tried to purchase the property through a dispute resolution process. Last month, they said, the majority ownership of the numbered company turned down an offer.

Bob Krupp, president of 68687 Ontario Ltd., said the issue between the company and the Knechtels has been ongoing since October 2014 when the couple stopped paying rent and claimed they had been paying rent above the market rate for many years.

The landlord company met with the tenant several times throughout spring and summer of 2015 in an attempt to resolve the issue,” Krupp said in a statement to The Independent. “However, the tenant remained steadfast in not paying even an amount of rent that it viewed as ‘market rate’.  The tenant would not disclose the amount of rent it would agree to pay going forward.”

The Knechtels said the current and retired members of the business community have also tried to negotiate to acquire the property on behalf of the couple in order to keep the grocery store in Lucknow with no success. The Knechtels say their landlords were looking for a higher price than what was presented during the dispute resolution and payment for legal costs to date.

Krupp explained that a Joint Dispute Resolution process was carried out from November 2015 until June 2016.

“Although a purchase and sale agreement dated April 19, 2016, was executed by all parties, the sale of shares did not close.  The JDR ultimately ended without resolve and the landlord issued a 15-day notice to cure the default to pay its past due rent by July 27, 2016. Failing that, the landlord would seek a court order for the tenant to vacate the property by August 31, 2016.

“During the 15-day notice period, concerned individuals in Lucknow stepped up and offered to assist in funding a resolve, however, a satisfactory purchase and sale agreement of shares among the three shareholders of the landlord company could still not be achieved.”

Krupp said the Knechtels have until Sept. 1 to cure the default of past due rent.  He said the fact that they posted a notice on Aug. 26 that they will be locked out Thursday indicates that theydo not intend to settle the past due debt.

In the post on Facebook, the Knechtels thanked the community for its support over the years.