Bay Area Businesses Left With Unpaid Bills After Startup Zero Grocery Shuts Down

NBC Universal, Inc.

Several Bay Area businesses said they are dealing with unpaid bills across the board after a local startup and food delivery company suddenly shut down.

Emily Winston, the owner of Boichik Bagels in Berkeley said she recently survived the pandemic and supply chain issues. But now, she said that she is dealing with the sudden closure of Zero Grocery, a Bay Area startup that offered a plastic-free grocery delivery service.

“I was just scrolling Instagram and I came across an Instagram post saying, ‘You know. Bad news, we're out of business.’ And I was really shocked,” she said.

The delivery startup had just announced it was expanding to Los Angeles.

Winston told NBC Bay Area Saturday that she checked her accounts and realized that Zero Grocery owed a little more than $1,600.

“I can tell you it’s exactly 806 bagels,” she said.

While Winston said that this isn’t going to break her business, she still thinks it all could have been handled better, especially after hearing about what happened to other business owners.

“A lot of people are really outraged, you know. It’s a problem. As a small food business, you have to extend credit,” Winston said.

NBC Bay Area learned Saturday that one of the bigger tabs was left at Berkeley-based Starter Bakery for about $25,000, according to a spreadsheet.

There are several other Bay Area businesses in the same boat. This includes As Kneaded Bakery in San Leandro, where owner Iliana Berkowitz said she is owed nearly $5,000.

“I operate a relatively small business, in that I have around 20 employees. $5,000 is several people’s wages in a two-week period,” she said.

NBC Bay Area reached out to Zero Grocery Saturday but have not heard back.

But on social media, the company recently posted that fundraising had been their biggest battle.

The business owners said all they can do now is learn from their experiences.

Contact Us