Eerie photos reveal the barren scene inside an iconic grocery chain that closed stores and couldn't pay vendors

Dean and DeLuca exteriorShoshy Ciment/Business Insider

  • Dean & DeLuca's Soho flagship store is eerily empty. Store employees say it's because of impending renovations.
  • The luxury food-chain has closed multiple stores in the last few months and has recently failed to pay some of its vendors, The New York Times reported.
  • We visited the store in Soho and saw a disturbing scene that matched the descriptions of other Dean & DeLuca locations before they shuttered.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Hope for Dean & DeLuca stores is rapidly dwindling.

The company closed two stores in July, one in California's Napa Valley and one on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Both locations were characterized by empty shelves for months, the New York Times reported. A Georgetown, DC location experienced the same apocalyptic symptoms before it finally shuttered earlier this month.

The company's website listed only four store locations as of Wednesday.

"Dean & DeLuca will focus on its flagship store located on Prince Street in New York City while it reassesses how to transform its business model to address challenges that are facing many brands in the sector," a representative for the company told the Washington Post last month.

Read more: We went to Trader Joe's and found 7 main reasons why so many people are obsessed with the quirky grocer

Issues for the grocery chain in the past have included a dwindling artisan inventory and a failure to pay its vendors and suppliers, The New York Times reported.

The flagship store in question resides at 560 Broadway in a building designated as a landmark in the Soho Cast-Iron Historic District, potentially complicating any construction or renovation to the property as it likely first must be approved by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Whether or not the store is slated for renovations, the luxury grocer is a shell of its former life as a celebrated hub for fine, artisanal groceries.

We visited the flagship on Wednesday and saw a troubling scene of empty refrigerators, shelves, and baskets. The vacant displays and counter space in the Soho store made it seem as though it was slated for a future similar to the other shuttered locations. Signs posted indicated that the appearance was due to renovations.

Dean & DeLuca did not return a request for comment.

With other Dean & DeLuca stores experiencing a similar fate, we wanted to see what was really happening in the Soho flagship.

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We stopped by the Dean & DeLuca flagship store located at 560 Broadway near Prince Street.

We stopped by the Dean & DeLuca flagship store located at 560 Broadway near Prince Street.

The building that housed the grocery store was magnificent and is actually designated as a landmark in the Soho Cast-Iron Historic District.

The building that housed the grocery store was magnificent and is actually designated as a landmark in the Soho Cast-Iron Historic District.

Source: NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission

The interior of the store was similarly magnificent and had marble floors and elegant white columns throughout.

The interior of the store was similarly magnificent and had marble floors and elegant white columns throughout.

But the store was markedly empty. Where there should have been fruit or pastries, we found a bunch of empty baskets on the display islands at the front of the store.

But the store was markedly empty. Where there should have been fruit or pastries, we found a bunch of empty baskets on the display islands at the front of the store.

The food-less baskets stood out to us right away and were a massive eyesore.

The food-less baskets stood out to us right away and were a massive eyesore.

There were signs like this throughout the store that gave customers an explanation for the appearance. A few employees confirmed that renovations were happening, but they had no details beyond that.

There were signs like this throughout the store that gave customers an explanation for the appearance. A few employees confirmed that renovations were happening, but they had no details beyond that.

The store had large areas that were just completely empty.

The store had large areas that were just completely empty.

Even some of the kitchen areas behind the counters were devoid of any employees or food.

Even some of the kitchen areas behind the counters were devoid of any employees or food.

This refrigerator in the front of the store was almost exclusively filled with water bottles.

This refrigerator in the front of the store was almost exclusively filled with water bottles.

Nearby, another fridge was half-filled with a small assortment of salads and hard-boiled eggs.

Nearby, another fridge was half-filled with a small assortment of salads and hard-boiled eggs.

Some produce was still for sale, but important veggies and fruits were missing from the assortment.

Some produce was still for sale, but important veggies and fruits were missing from the assortment.

The sushi center at the back of the store seemed completely out of commission ...

The sushi center at the back of the store seemed completely out of commission ...

... and a sign told us that sushi was "temporarily unavailable."

... and a sign told us that sushi was "temporarily unavailable."

We kept walking through the store and couldn't believe how bare it was.

We kept walking through the store and couldn't believe how bare it was.

When not completely empty, some of the displays were half-filled with different dishes — or half-empty, depending on how you looked at it.

When not completely empty, some of the displays were half-filled with different dishes — or half-empty, depending on how you looked at it.

This section of empty pots and trays looked sadly underutilized.

This section of empty pots and trays looked sadly underutilized.

When not blatantly empty, some display structures were completely cordoned off from view.

When not blatantly empty, some display structures were completely cordoned off from view.

Overall, the atmosphere was depressing. It felt like walking through a store in the process of liquidation.

Overall, the atmosphere was depressing. It felt like walking through a store in the process of liquidation.

Signs were advertising items that were not on display.

Signs were advertising items that were not on display.

The store had an eerie feeling to it as if it was frozen in time, waiting to be made useful again. It was sad to watch the once-bustling store look this melancholy.

The store had an eerie feeling to it as if it was frozen in time, waiting to be made useful again. It was sad to watch the once-bustling store look this melancholy.

Even if renovations are on the way, it seemed strange that practically half the store was out of commission. Other Dean & DeLuca stores were reportedly similarly empty before they closed.

Even if renovations are on the way, it seemed strange that practically half the store was out of commission. Other Dean & DeLuca stores were reportedly similarly empty before they closed.

Source: The New York Times

The stories of the grocer's other shuttered stores made us suspicious about the future of this location.

The stories of the grocer's other shuttered stores made us suspicious about the future of this location.

Whether or not this location will close, Dean & DeLuca is still in a downward spiral as it closes more stores and racks up debt. As for the fate of this Soho flagship, that still remains to be seen.

Whether or not this location will close, Dean & DeLuca is still in a downward spiral as it closes more stores and racks up debt. As for the fate of this Soho flagship, that still remains to be seen.

Source: The New York Times

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