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February 3, 2009

Elephant Pharm stores in WC, elsewhere to close; company files Chapter 7

I can’t say I’m surprised. The parking lot at Trader Joe’s on California Boulevard is usually packed, but I doubt that many cars were there because their owners wanted to pick up something at Elephant Pharm, which billed itself as the healthy, natural alternative to mainstream drug stores.

It’s too bad. It’s never good to see any business close. And the Walnut Creek Elephant Pharm was a nice looking store, though I can’t say I ever shopped there much, except for purchasing an occasional lotion or health food bar. The store also sold unique, artsy stationery. But when I went in, I hardly saw many other shoppers.

Update: I stopped by Elephant Pharm a half hour ago, and there's a sign on the door that says "Closed indefinitely." However, the lights were on.  And two people walked up, expecting to go in and shop there and had to turn away. 

Anyway, what follows is a a press release about the company filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and closing its four stories, including its flagship location in Berkeley. By the way, news of Elephant Pharm filing for bankruptcy comes the day that the Contra Costa Times reported that it was having financial difficulties.

February 3rd, 2009, Berkeley, Calif. Elephant Pharm --the revolutionary one-stop health and wellness retailer with stores in Berkeley, San Rafael and Walnut Creek--announced today that it has closed all of its stores and will seek liquidation under chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.

Elephant Pharm CEO, Kathi Lentzsch said, "The company has been burdened with obligations that were quite difficult for a company of our size to carry. The current management team and board of directors worked diligently to grow the company to a size that could bear these obligations, but due to the current economic conditions and the tightening of the credit market, it has not been possible to raise the capital required to continue the business."

Over the past twelve months, while Elephant Pharm was in continuous discussions with potential investors, the Company cut costs significantly, closing its Los Altos location and downsizing the corporate staff. In spite of these efforts, the Company was ultimately unable to meet its mounting obligations and regretfully had no choice but to close it stores.

"We are extremely proud of our team and what we were able to accomplish in the 6 years since we opened. We would like to thank our vendors and our very loyal customers for their support over the years." Lentzsch said. "Elephant has been both a leader in its industry as well as a reflection of a greater societal movement for healthy change."

Elephant Pharm employed 190 people across its three stores and at the Home Office.

Additional details are available at the company's website.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bummer, I really enjoyed the free classes, yoga for kids, a free facial, etc.

Anonymous said...

Guess they gave away too many freebies and not enough people were buying their products to keep the business afloat.

Mom's exhausted said...

I shopped there. It was pleasant, but expensive. I'm not wealthy by any means of the definition. So, it was always a well thought out decision to make purchases there. Though, I loved their line of OP Sandals. Guess I'll have to buy those on the internet this summer.

I always wondered how many people really shopped and spent a lot of money there.

The staff was nice though. They never seemed uppity.

Anonymous said...

well, to locate a store next to TJ's, which sell lots of the same stuff for a fraction of the price, was a very poor decision.

I went in there once, Longs is much more practical, and a Walnut Creek local company with value for us every-day folks.

Anonymous said...

Longs is not Walnut Creek owned any more. They were recently aquired by Von's and will shut down their former WC home office soon...

Anonymous said...

Longs is now owned by CVS, a national drug store chain. It was started here by the Long brothers, Joe and Tom and expanded some years ago into the western states and then bought out another locally owned store, Bill's Drugs started by Lafayette resident Bill Eames. The Long boys are both gone now but Bill Eames is still around and living in Rossmoor.

All stores, except those in Hawaii will now carry the CVS name. And yes, 800 jobs at the Longs headquarters on Civic Drive in Walnut Creek will soon be lost.

Anonymous said...

I bought something at EP once and the cashier berated me for asking for a bag, asking whether it was really necessary etc.

Anonymous said...

Kind of a snooty store, especially, like Anonymous said, you'd get berated for asking for a shopping bag. Should ahve stayed in Berkeley with all the other tofu-heads.