The downtown Charleston businessman seeking to buy Burbage’s Self-Service Grocery on the lower peninsular withdrew his offer over the weekend, placing the longtime institution’s future in jeopardy.

“The decision to buy or not buy a business comes down to balancing the upside potential with the risk,” David AvRutick said. “In this case, despite extremely hard work from everyone involved, we were not able to reach a point where the economic realities for my family met our goals to preserve a Charleston treasure and carry on the beloved Burbage’s tradition.”

AvRutick wanted to expand the seating area for more dining space and allow on-premise consumption of alcohol, but some community members believed he planned to turn the 67-year-old business into a late-night restaurant and bar. AvRutick discounted those claims.

“While we had and really appreciate the tremendous personal, neighborhood and community support for our concept for Burbage’s, the path to success was also marred by the consistent spread of patent untruths and unwarranted fear by a few vocal opponents,” he said.

“While I do not shy away from conflict, particularly where I wholeheartedly believe in the goodness of the cause, in this case such a conflict is not consistent with our well-intentioned efforts to save Burbage’s,” AvRutick said. “The road to success would be tough enough without having to battle such negativity.”

AvRutick, who lives on Charleston’s lower peninsula not far from Burbage’s wished business owner Al Burbage success in trying to find a buyer “to preserve what he and his father have built.”

Burbage’s has been a part of the lower peninsula of Charleston since 1946, when it was first located on Tradd Street and founded by Al Burbage’s father, the late Robert A. Burbage.

Burbage said last month that if the deal with AvRutick fell through, he might close the business.

“That’s a distinct possibility,” Burbage said today. “I will have to come up with something this month.”

No other suitors have come forward, he said.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or