Thomas Maddux, a principal with brokerage firm KLNB Retail, said that companies are interested in the properties, but that the bankruptcy proceeding may present some hurdles. Whoever buys the properties would have to take the leases as is and would not be able to negotiate with landlords.

"The real estate is great, but the process may be cumbersome," Maddux said.

Meanwhile, Superfresh workers are holding out hope that buyers will come in and allow them to keep their jobs.

Several workers at the Superfresh in Hampden, all of whom declined to give their names, said they had been given no information about the fate of the store, which employs about 110 people, many of them neighborhood residents who walk to work.

One employee, who said he had been at the store for a year and a half, said he knew some of his co-workers had begun looking for other jobs, while others continued to hope that a new owner would retain the staff.

Shoppers in Hampden on Monday said they hoped the supermarket would remain open.

Nancy Jenkins said she and her husband walk from their nearby home to shop two to three times a week.

"It's convenient," Jenkins said.

Neighborhood resident Patricia Cox was surprised to hear the Hampden Superfresh would either close or be sold, saying the store is always busy when she does her shopping, usually on Saturday mornings. Even though she has found lower prices elsewhere, she said she prefers to save money on gas by shopping close to home.

"It is sad," said Cox, an employee at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center & Hospital who lives a couple of blocks away from the supermarket and has been shopping there for about a decade. "I know most of the people who work here. It's upsetting to see friends lose their jobs."

Susan Goodlaxson, who was shopping at the Towson Superfresh on Monday, said she was sad about the store's incipient closure. She started shopping at that Superfresh after the one near Towson Town Center closed last year.

She said she likes Superfresh's prices and interacting with the staff. "The staff is really friendly and I think it works best with my budget," she said.

Goodlaxson doesn't know where she'll shop now. "I'm at a loss and trying to work it out," she said.

Baltimore Sun reporters Jamie Smith Hopkins and Lorraine Mirabella contributed to this article. ankwalker

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