Last week, we reported that a Texas-based entrepreneur was buying Ashbury Market in Cole Valley, but we've since learned that the deal has been scuttled.
Owner Ben Robinson told Hoodline that he was prepared to finalize the deal over the weekend, with new owner Navid "Tony" Hoomanrad set to take possession of the store.
Robinson said he was at the market with an employee and members of the Hoomanrad family until 3am on the day of the handover when all parties suddenly discovered that the firm hired to record the store's inventory made an error.
"The company didn't count all of the inventory, and with the inventory they did count, the buyer did not agree with the outcome of the price," Robinson said.
Later that day, Robinson said he reached out to Hoomanrad to get on the same page and resume the transaction, but Hoomanrad replied via to let him know that a family member had fallen ill and he had to pull out of the deal.
Since then, Robinson has transferred the utilities back into his name, which he said required "a pretty big deposit."
Additionally, he needs to obtain a new business license and can't buy liquor, since Hoomanrad's temporary ABC license is still active. Robinson is in the process of obtaining a new liquor license in his own name and hopes to get things squared away by the end of this week.
“I will lose out on a good amount of sales, as Halloween is one of the biggest sale days of the year,” he said, “not to mention there are attorney fees that I have to pay for the drafting of the lease."
Despite the setback, Robinson said he wished Hoomanrad the best and expressed hope that his family member gets well.
The Cole Valley shopkeeper attributes his good spirits to support from neighbors and said his employees have been incredibly helpful, even though some had already applied for new jobs, as Hoomanrad was going to run the business with his parents.
"At this point, I am in the process of calling my vendors and filling the store back up with inventory," Robinson said. "On top of that, some of the vendors that I closed accounts with, as I was helping [Hoomanrad] get set up, I have to start all over with the process of getting my accounts reestablished."
Robinson, who purchased the store in 2012, said he's not certain if he'll put Ashbury Market up for sale again, but will make a decision down the road. Born and raised in the area, he said he has a good relationship with his landlord, who operated the market from the 1950s until 1999.
“After having two or so different buyers in the past and then the deal doesn't come to fruition, maybe it's meant for me to stay here,” he said.
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