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Pueblo Supermarkets to be Sold to World Fresh Market

July 18, 2007 — Pueblo Supermarkets, owned by the Florida-based FLBN LLC, will be sold to World Fresh Market, Sen. Celestino White said in a news release issued Wednesday. The sale will occur by Monday.
In a letter received by the Source, FLBN President and Chief Executive Officer William T. Keon III wrote July 16 to the company's Virgin Islands employees that the company decided to sell all its Pueblo stores in the territory.
Keon wrote that the stores will continue to carry the Pueblo brand. He did not return phone calls requesting comment.
Pueblo opened its first store in the Virgin Islands at Long Bay on St. Thomas in 1960.
The company has two stores each on St. Thomas and St. Croix. It closed its store at Four Winds Shopping Center on St. Thomas in 2003 and its Sunny Isle, St. Croix store in 2005.
White met with World Fresh Market owner Ahmad M. Al Khatib and St. Thomas attorney Kevin Moore to discuss the future treatment of Pueblo's supermarkets and Pueblo's continuing obligations to the local government.
Keon said in his letter that the new owners planned to retain "virtually all, if not all, of the current employees who want to continue working at the stores."
World Fresh Market plans to renovate its stores in the territory, he said, and they also plan to keep them open during the renovations.
In his press release, White alluded to some unsettled issues between Pueblo employees and FLBN.
"With the sale closing Friday or at the latest next week Monday, we have yet to see FLBN making a move to settle employee issues or discuss matters with the government," White said.
FLBN will not be allowed to get away with not giving Pueblo employees their due under both local and federal laws, he said. FLBN is obligated to compensate employees for vacation time, sick leave and other fringe benefits.
He said he's asked for investigations from the Corporation and Trademarks Division at the Lieutenant Governor's office, the Licensing and Consumer Affairs Department, the Property and Procurement Department, and the Labor Department.
"With the welcomed cooperation of these agencies, we will continue to monitor the progress of the sale. While my meeting with World Fresh Market was very productive and somewhat comforting, I still have severe problems with the current owners, FLBN, and will continue to pressure them to do what is right for all Pueblo employees," he said.
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