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Buyk Grocery Delivery Company Files For Bankruptcy Due To Russian Invasion Of Ukraine

The Russian-backed company expanded to Chicago in December, but it has already closed. A bankruptcy filing called Russia's war with Ukraine "an existential and, ultimately, fatal crisis" for the company.

New York-based grocery delivery company Buyk recently opened a Chicago store in the Six Corners area at 4819 W. Irving Park Road
Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
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WICKER PARK — Grocery delivery company Buyk has already filed for bankruptcy and formally ceased operations in Chicago and New York City, where it was based.

The company filed for bankruptcy March 17 after company leaders said sanctions from Russia led to its major funding sources being cut off. The news was first reported by Bloomberg.

The company’s CEO said Russia’s recent crackdowns on the United States over its sanctions in response to the war in Ukraine interfered with Buyk’s ability to receive funds from its founders, Slava Bocharov and Rodion Shishkov. The pair co-founded Samokat, a delivery service based in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The bankruptcy filing called Russia’s war with Ukraine “an existential and, ultimately, fatal crisis” for the the company.

“Although the Debtor was operating and earning revenue, it was in the beginning
stages of its growth and was relying, in part, on cash infusions by the founders to continue its operations and expansion,” the filing reads. “Unfortunately, although the founders were not, and are not, subject to any sanctions, restrictions on the ability to transfer any funds out of Russia made it impossible for the founders to provide any further funding to the Debtor.”

Buyk promised free delivery of groceries on the North Side and part of the Southwest Side near Midway Airport, according to the company’s website, which has now been deactivated.

Buyk laid off approximately 98 percent of its workers in early March. The company at the time said it was a temporary measure until it could secure additional financing, which ultimately did not materialize.

“We have diligently explored all possible options and partnerships to restructure Buyk and keep the business going, however, the war in Ukraine and subsequent restrictions in funding have unfortunately made it impossible to continue operations,” Buyk CEO James Walker said in a statement.

Buyk was operating eight locations in Chicago at the time of its bankruptcy filing, according to court records. Couriers packaged items from the stores, which were not open to the public but were stocked with food from local and national vendors.

Several of the stores on Chicago’s North Side still displayed Buyk signage this week. At least one location, in Portage Park, had “For Rent” signs in the windows Monday.

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
The former Buyk “dark store” in Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood

Buyk’s closure comes less than two months after neighbors in Logan Square complained in February that the company was throwing out fresh produce and other unopened groceries at its Logan Square warehouse, 2774 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The incident led Ukrainian Village resident Jim Humay to partner with the company for bi-weekly food pickups to distribute food to community refrigerators in the area, known as “Love Fridges.”

A Buyk spokesperson did not answer questions about what was done with leftover food in Buyk stores.

Credit: Provided
Jim Humay partnered with Buyk on a food rescue program after learning the delivery company had been throwing out loads of fresh produce.

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