Talk Of The Town

Newscaster 2608Several St. Louis news stations were in Breese on Tuesday reporting on the overwhelming smell of spoiled groceries at the now-shuttered Schuette’s Market. Here, Fox 2 News reporter Dan Gray talks to a customer of Family Care Pharmacy, which operates in the northeast corner of the Schuette’s building and has had to endure the foul odor.    Bankruptcy can be a stinky situation for all parties involved. But spoiled produce and other groceries left behind following the recent closure of Schuette’s Market in Breese has caused a literal stench.
    The foul odor is a particular problem for the employees and patrons of Family Care Pharmacy, which is still in operation in the northeast corner of the building. On Tuesday, candles and air fresheners were doing their best to hide the smell.
    Clinton County Health Department administrator Cheryl Lee said her office was contacted on Monday, and the department’s environmental health practitioner Holly Timmermann visited the store on Tuesday morning.
    “The grocery store was locked when she arrived, but she made contact with the bankruptcy trustee who is contracting with a company to have the spoiled food cleaned up,” Lee said. “We will follow up to make sure that’s done.”
    Schuette’s Market officially closed its doors in Breese on Sept. 7, so inventory has been sitting untouched for 11 days.
    The court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, Robert Eggmann, an attorney with the St. Louis-based law firm Carmody MacDonald P.C., said he stopped at Schuette’s Market on Tuesday after being made aware of the problem.
    “It certainly didn’t smell good,” Eggmann said. 
    He confirmed that ATEC Inc., a St. Louis business that handles financially distressed property and assists in the appraisal, evaluation and liquidation of assets, will handle the cleanup of the spoiled food. 
    “They’ve gone in today and are overseeing the cleanup,” Eggmann said. 
    He said any frozen foods that had been frozen, remain frozen.  The spoiled foods — which mostly include produce along with some dairy products and a limited amount of meats — will be frozen to stop the smell. They will then be moved and “disposed of properly in an environmentally correct manner,” Eggmann said.
    He noted that while ATEC was brought in this week on an emergency basis, the company will have to be approved by the bankruptcy court before it begins selling Schuette’s remaining inventory, which will include regular frozen foods and all nonperishable inventory. 
    “They will eventually set a sale date and give people notice,” Eggmann said. 
    While he has handled numerous bankruptcy cases in the past, Eggmann said dealing with the spoiled foods is a first.
    “That is an oversight on Schuette’s part,” he said. “The perishable foods should have been secured. They should have preserved the assets of the bankruptcy estate.”
    Meanwhile, Schuette Stores spokesperson Carmen Schuette said their hands were tied.
    "It is very hard to hear about the rotten food smell and that the pharmacy is having to operate in those conditions,” she said. “Sadly the Schuette family no longer owns the store and its contents, as it has ceased operations Sept. 7 and filed for Chapter 7 protection. We hope that those who are now in possession of the store can quickly come up with a solution.”
    Eggmann said his first goal as bankruptcy trustee is to get the property sold and he has had inquiries from businesses interested in opening a grocery store on the property.
    “We hope to get someone in here who wants to expand their portfolio,” he said. “We have one serious candidate who is an operator in the area and would bring their own style to the business.” Eggmann added that there are other inquiries from companies “who are just wanting to kick the tires.”
    Still, he believes Breese and Clinton County are lucrative markets.
    “Although we are based in St. Louis, half of my practice is still in southern Illinois. I know the market in that area, and I know that Breese is a good solid market.” 

LincolnPoster    Fritz Klein, an actor famous for playing the 16th president of the United States, will don his stovepipe hat and bow tie to entertain Clinton County on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. in the Maddux Room of Carlyle’s Case-Halstead Public Library, 571 Franklin Street. The event will commemorate the bicentennial anniversary of Illinois this year. 
    “Mr. Klein, who has performed Lincoln on stage and screen and is much appreciated wherever he performs, will be here to talk as Lincoln that evening,” said Keith Housewright, library director. “He has performed in Carlyle in the past for the Historical Society and everyone involved said he is amazingly genuine and a very warm and fun guy.”
    Tickets for the event are free and can be obtained at the front desk of Case-Halstead Library or by calling the library at (618) 594-5210.
    Fritz Klein of Springfield, Illinois has performed as Lincoln  internationally. His long list of clients include the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the History Channel and the White House Historical Association. His most recent projects include a role in the Pulitzer-nominated production “The Heavens are Hung in Black” and 2017’s “To Bind Up the Nation’s Wounds.”

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