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Stanley's Fresh Fruits And Vegetables Closes; 'We Tried To Stay Open The Best We Could'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Stanley's Fresh Fruits & Vegetables, a popular produce shop in the Goose Island neighborhood, shut its doors on Monday, to the surprise of loyal customers and employees alike.

"We were trying to secure a business loan financing to keep the business going, but since it wasn't making money, we couldn't secure the loan. We tried everything we possibly could," said Peter Panagiotaros, the son of owner Stelios Panagiotaros, also known as Stanley Peters.

Workers at Stanley's said they showed up for work Monday morning to find the doors locked, and a sign that said "CLOSED FOR REMODELING," and that employees should come on Wednesday for their paychecks. However, that closure appears permanent.

Peter Panagiotaros said owners didn't know until Sunday night, hours after the store had been closed for the day, that Stanley's would be shut down.

"You think we want to close? We tried to stay open the best we could," he said.

Produce still lined the shelves Monday morning inside at a store known for high-quality fruits and vegetables at a cheap price.

"We had no prior knowledge on this remodeling, and that we would not be working today," Stanley's employee Victoria Kamacho said. "There's people that have worked here for 25, 30 years. It makes me sad."

Richard Pearson said he's been shopping at Stanley's for five years, and was surprised to learn Monday it was closed.

"I feel sorry for the employees. You come to a job and you're locked out, that's not cool," he said.

Even manager Tony Panagiotaros, a nephew of owner Stelios Panagiotaros, said he wasn't aware Sunday that the store was about to close.

"I just pulled up, and I seen everything here," he said.

Last July, the Panagiataros family began trying to sell the property at the corner of North and Elston avenues, but at the time did not announce plans to close.


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