BROOKINGS, Ore. -

The Ray's Food Place grocery stores in Bend and Redmond will close as their parent firm has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but others in La Pine, Sisters and Prineville will stay open, the company announced Tuesday.

C&K Market Inc. plans to close about one-third of its Ray's Food Place, Shop Smart and Lo Bucks stores, but 44 will remain open, the company said.

"This decision was a difficult one but it will give us time to reorganize our business, so every store we operate will be profitable," C&K said on its Facebook page, adding, "We fully expect to be out of the bankruptcy in 2014 and return to financial stability."

A company spokesman said the stores will remain open through the holidays and close early next year.

In a letter to customers on its Website, the company said:

"We seriously considered our options, and believe this approach is in the best interest of many of the communities we’ve served over the years. We will maintain about two-thirds of our 60 stores, tighten our corporate structure, and restructure our debt.

"Traditionally, we’ve focused on serving people in small, rural towns throughout Oregon and northern California. As competition increased from larger grocers and mega-stores, more people left their communities to shop in those stores. Sales declined in some of our stores, forcing us to realize that we could no longer operate profitably in some markets.

"Selling or closing about a third of our stores was a difficult, but necessary, move to ensure our viability, and will allow us to continue serving as many customers as possible. We are saddened that some will no longer work with us, and we will assist them in their job search."

About 500 workers, or 20 percent of the 2,500-employee workforce, are losing their jobs, the company said, promising to work with state employment agencies to help them find new employment. C&K, which is based in the coastal city of Brookings and began in 1956, recently had sold its pharmacy business in what it said was "focus on our core business."