PHOENIX — More than 25 state and community leaders are urging Arizona consumers to show their support for Bashas' as it moves through bankruptcy proceedings.
They have formed a support group, called “Friends of Bashas',” that is running newspaper ads on four consecutive Sundays, with plans to sponsor billboards around the state; distribute T-shirts that read “I support Bashas'” to the chain's 10,000 employees; and make 50,000 buttons, bumper stickers and window decals available to anyone who wants to show support for Bashas'. It is working with the Harkins movie theater chain to develop ads urging community support for the family-owned company.
A Bashas' spokeswoman said it's too early to determine what impact the group's efforts may have on business.
Bashas' filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in mid-July and expects to emerge during the first quarter of 2010 in a better financial position.
The chain, which was operating 158 stores at the time of the filing, has since closed 15 stores, with plans to shut down 14 more by mid-October.
“Friends of Bashas'” was organized and initially underwritten with $100,000 by Herman Chanen, chairman and chief executive officer of Chanen Construction Co. here, a friend for 40 years of Eddie Basha, the chain's chairman and CEO. The two companies have never done any business together, Chanen said.
“My initial reaction to the Chapter 11 filing was to urge people to shop at one of the Bashas'-banner stores and to give them as much business as we could,” Chanen told SN.
To do even more, Chanen said he contacted business friends and leaders across the state to pony up $5,000 apiece to join “Friends of Bashas'” to pay for the print ads, T-shirts, buttons and other support efforts.
When the first full-page ad ran in the Aug. 27 Arizona Republic, it asked consumers interested in showing their support to sign up at a designated website, “and within 48 hours we had 206 names, which are being included in this weekend's [Sept. 6] ad,” Chanen told SN.