Sunday, October 09, 2011

LaBelle Landmark Grocery Out Of Business?

Employees Fired Without Final Paychecks

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle's U-Save Supermarket at the corner of State Road 80 and State Road 29 appears to be closed after decades of service to Hendry and Glades county area residents and visitors.

A sign found on the door Friday says the store will be closed for "remodeling," but the appearance of the store has taken a downward move in the last few months as shelves and freezer units were not restocked, leaving much of the store empty of both food and customers.

The LaBelle store, straddling LaBelle's Main Street and Bridge Street, before a sale September 3, 2010 to Oqab Abuoqab, was a part of the Tampa based B & B Cash Grocery Stores, Inc. chain, founded in 1923 that included a store in Moore Haven and LaBelle.

Along with the LaBelle store, Abuoqab bought U-Save stores in Clewiston, Belle Glade, Okeechobee, and Fort Myers. The Moore Haven store was not sold. At the time, he was said to own or operate 15 groceries or convenience stores in Florida.

U-Save Supermarkets around Florida are now under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor for possible violations of minimum wage and overtime pay

Owner Oqab Abuoqab, in recent years has purchased numerous low-budget grocery stores catering largely to Mexican and low-income customers in southwest Florida including the LaBelle store and in Fort Myers on Palm Beach Boulevard, advertising under the Bravo Supermarket name.

Sun Commodities, Inc. of Broward county filed a suit against Abuoqab and his companies in Federal court in Fort Myers on April 28, 2011 for violations of Federal Agricultural Commodities Acts.

Abuoqab purchased all the grocery stores with relatively small cash down payments, and highly leveraged the buys through bank loans and chattel mortgages with Associated Grocers.

His family also purchased three years ago, an Hispanic oriented retail strip mall on Ortiz Avenue in Fort Myers, also with a small down payment, and financing by the seller and First Bank.

He has been associated with former Hendry County Engineer Rock Aboujaoude, in various businesses, many now out of business.

Aboujaoude along with Rafic Aboujaoude owns Jacks On Joel, LLC, and owns Rock Enterprises Inc., a civil engineering firm in LaBelle for many years.

Abuoqab was the majority partner with Aboujaoude in LaBelle's Trading Post from late 2005 to 2009 when Abuoqab agreed to buy out Aboujaoude. Abuoqab was unable to pay, and sold the Jacks On Joel store to Aboujaoude, where Aboujaoude's brother Rafic runs the store.

Abuoqab operates along with Sana Abuoqab under numerous business names including S & O U-Save Group LLC, Quick-Check Food & Deli, Inc., Properties Of S & O LLC, Fiesta Five Supermarket Inc., MLK Trading Post Inc., and Fiesta Expo, Inc.

His business history includes many dissolved corporations formerly in the grocery and real estate business.

He also owns LaBelle Trading Post LLC, LaBelle Trading Post Laudromat LLC, Mi Tienda LLC, and with Mustafa Ayyad, both M & O Enterprises LLC, and Palm Beach Laundromat, Inc. His address is listed as 6821 Lake Devonwood Drive, Fort Myers with the Florida Secretary of State.

As of Friday, the LaBelle store's eight employees had not been paid their final paycheck.

The large parking lot on LaBelle's main street intersection is empty of cars and may remain that way for a long time.

Update: The Clewiston U-Save also closed on Monday October 10th. The Okeechobee store is still open as of Thursday October 13th. With the pending legal problems of the company it may be predicted that other stores owned by Abuoqab may end up like Clewiston and LaBelle's.


  1. Anonymous2:54 PM

    I love the work that Rock has done for the most honorable Central County board. That well funded "reservour" is a civil works marvel.
    Generally speaking.. Don you are on a roll baby...keep it up.

  2. Anonymous2:57 PM

    I just had an ironic kids game flashback... paper covers rock!

  3. Anonymous3:07 PM

    Not that it matters but what nationality is Aboujaoude from? No one would ever give me an answer when I have asked. I am now 78 years old and probably will die before someone ever answers that simple question for me. Thanks in advance.

  4. Anonymous5:52 PM

    Rock is Lebanese

  5. Anonymous7:12 PM

    IF you want a REAL EYE OPENER
    go to the hendry county website an pull up the minutes from the BOCC meetings.
    go to the agendas and find the budget pay outs for ROCK INC
    in the last 5 years since he has left Hendry County Dept of Engineering, we HENDRY COUNTY have entered into contracts and paid for said contracts with Roc to the tune of OVER 2 MILLION dollars. and if you arent mad yet, dig deeper and find out that the projects were all STARTED WHEN HE WORKED FOR THE COUNTY, so he set them up on the "clock" and then went "private" to finish and get paid off for them.
    We paid to bring him into the county, we paid for his green card and naturalization years ago, and to pay us back, we paid to fund his buying up through this collaboration with Oqab and family to pick an choose land sites to play with.
    REMEMBER, the Walgreen's pharmacy we didn't get? It was going on the corner where the trading post is, but they wouldn't finish the deal. So, ROC wanted more money. LaBelle pays again, and again and again, and again.
    How do you like life between roc and a hard place?

  6. Anonymous10:20 PM

    I didn't know he bought Jacks..

  7. Anonymous9:59 AM

    Rock is an IDIOT.

  8. Anonymous5:52 PM

    I know the comments are on Rock, but the real issue is Ogab. If you want to check the real truth, check out the Hendry County Prop. Appraiser. Ogab owns 28 property in the county under his name and his wife. there are more under his business names. This individual is never around, he usually leaves his wife to take care of his affairs. When you ask his wife where can he be reached she will most likely tell you he is out of the country. I've heard that he leaves 4 to 6 months out of the year to Pakistan. And when he returns he purchase properties in Hendry & Lee Co. I don't knock being financially productive but what is the purpose of buying land, homes and businesses when you neglect all of them. This is a question that should concern you all. Just an FYI to those concerned.

  9. Anonymous10:39 PM

    Now THAT is even more interesting! So are you saying that Rock's biz partner travels regularly to pakistan, and perhaps spends up to half of his time there?...
    Ok I just re-read your above statement and that is in fact what you said. I confirm that I find that in fact interesting. I find that so interesting that I think we shoud study that particular business model and the businessmen from them there parts in our here parts. Studying is always good for the learning process.

  10. Anonymous10:50 PM

    From the CIA world factbook:
    textiles and apparel, food processing, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, paper products, fertilizer, shrimp

  11. Anonymous11:04 PM

    Also from CIA Sources:
    Alleged Pakistan guest:
    The late Osama Bin-ladin

  12. Abuoqab is a Palestinian from Jordan. - Ed.

  13. Anonymous12:03 PM

    So is this resourceful Palestinian gentleman hanging out in Pakistan or is that perhaps bad info?

  14. Anonymous11:54 PM

    Every Camel jockey I have ever met has pretended to be extremely nice yet they are sneakey litle bastards. My sister's ex was a pakistani. I am well experienced in the field of these individuals. I have worked with middle eastern dudes. I have not met a good one and I am confident I never will. The niceness at first is a front for their real feelings.

  15. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Wow, that's pretty racist.

  16. Anonymous8:19 AM

    Americans need to take back their country. Far to many non Americans taking over our homelands.

  17. Anonymous2:47 AM