Grocer Eddie Basha dies: Beloved Valley CEO passes away at 75

PHOENIX - Beloved Valley businessman Eddie Basha has passed away.

Sources confirm a funeral has been arranged Friday for Basha, the chairman and CEO of Bashas' grocery stores.

Basha, also known in the Valley as a philanthropist and politician, was 75.

Many Valley leaders have already expressed their condolences, including Governor Jan Brewer, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, former Attorney General Grant Woods, and Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema.

"Eddie Basha showed all that could – and still can – be accomplished in Arizona with hard work, dedication to community and love of family. That may be his most lasting legacy, and it's one for which his family can be proud," Brewer said in a press release issued Tuesday.

"Sad & heartbroken to hear about the passing of Eddie Basha. Champion for education, best thing we can do to honor him is support our schools," Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton tweeted Tuesday evening.

At one time, Bashas' had more than 155 stores, but now has 132 locations, all but two in Arizona. Besides Bashas' stores, the company operates Food City, which caters to Hispanic shoppers, and high-end grocer AJ's Fine Foods.

The Basha family has been in the grocery business since 1932, but suffered setbacks in recent years due to a lackluster economy.

The family-owned company, based in Chandler, filed for a planned Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in July 2009 after being stung by the global credit crisis, slowing growth and the hyper-competitive Phoenix-area grocery market.

A federal judge accepted a deal for the company to get out of bankruptcy protection on August 13, 2010. Bashas' said it had about $271 million in liabilities and $386 million in assets.

Basha also made a name for himself in Arizona politics, running an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 1994 against incumbent Fife Symington.

Sources say the grocery magnate's funeral is set to be held Friday at St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Chandler.

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