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SchuettesSchuette’s Market in Breese, currently closed.    A sale contract is in place for the purchase of the three remaining Schuette’s stores in Illinois. On Wednesday, Nov. 28, Lechner and Lechner Ltd. signed paperwork to purchase the Schuette’s grocery stores in Troy, Breese and Carlyle for a price tag of $2.3 million, which includes both real estate and the equipment. 
    “My understanding is that they intend to operate a grocery store,” said Robert Eggmann, bankruptcy trustee for Schuette’s Stores Inc. 
    Mike Schuette, once-owner of the oldest grocery store empire in Illinois, filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 7, announcing the closing of his two final stores - Troy and Breese - two hours before the workday ended. The stores were not cleaned out before closing, leaving meat, produce and other perishable items to rot. 
    Eggmann said that though an emergency cleanup was performed in September, the full cleaning did not occur until early November. Cleanup was conducted by Kues Brothers Auction Co. of Aviston, who also listed the Schuette’s properties for sale.
    “When we do auctions and things, if somebody passes away and their house needs to be cleaned, that’s one of our services,” said owner John Kues. “It’s not our expertise but we can do whatever needs to be done. The perishables are all gone. The coolers are cleaned.”
    Nonperishable items, such as cereal and paper towels, remain in the store, but Lechner and Lechner are not planning to purchase them.
    According to Eggmann, the deal cannot officially go through until the bankruptcy court accepts his motion to approve the sale, which he filed on Nov. 29. Until then, either party can back out of the deal and other purchasers may bid on the stores.
    Eggmann said the selling price was “a little lower” than desired and mentioned that there are two other parties who have expressed interest in the properties. 
    After a sale goes through, said Eggmann, the bank is the first party to be repaid. After that, smaller debtors called general unsecured creditors will be repaid if any money remains. Eggman said the sale of the three stores does not necessarily reflect the entire bankruptcy estate and there could be more cash flow generated later.
    “A lot of local people, I have come to find out, have been investors,” he said. “Some of it goes back a couple generations.”

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