I'm kind of sorry to see this:
Joe's Sports files for bankruptcy protection
Joe's Sports & Outdoor a Wilsonville, Ore.-based retailer that got its start more that 50 years ago selling sleeping bags out of a station wagon, and now includes a dozen stores in the Puget Sound region filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday.
By Amy Martinez
Seattle Times business reporter
Joe's Sports & Outdoor a Wilsonville, Ore.-based retailer that got its start more that 50 years ago selling sleeping bags out of a station wagon, and now includes a dozen stores in the Puget Sound region filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, saying it needs time to work out its financial problems.
Joe's said it plans to keep all 30 of its stores in the Northwest open and will continue to pay its employees wages and benefits. To fund its operations, it said it has obtained $50 million in new borrowing from Wells Fargo Retail Finance.
President and CEO Hal Smith said the restructuring will give Joe's time to face its "capital challenges so that we can emerge an even stronger company with a firm financial position."
Joe's, formerly called G.I. Joe's, listed both assets and debt of $100 million to $500 million in Chapter 11 documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. The 20 largest consolidated creditors without collateral backing their claims are owed a total $12.8 million, court papers show.
Portland-based outerwear brand Columbia Sportswear is listed as the second-largest unsecured creditor. It's owed about $888,300.
"They've always been one of the top accounts for us in the Northwest," said Ron Parham, Columbia's senior director of investor relations. "We're certainly hopeful they'll work through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy period and come out the other side."
Joe's began in 1952 when Edward Orkney, a World War II veteran, began selling Army surplus sleeping bags from the back of a station wagon in Portland.
Today, Joe's has two stores in Idaho, 13 in Oregon and 15 in Washington, 12 of which are in the Puget Sound region.
In 2006, the company took over two prominent Eastside locations previously occupied by Larry's Markets, giving it a strong foothold in Bellevue and Kirkland.
Two years ago, Gryphon Investors, a San Francisco private-equity firm, bought Joe's for an undisclosed amount.
The company employs about 1,600 people.
Jeff Green, a San Francisco Bay Area retail consultant, said he'd be surprised if Joe's does not ultimately use the bankruptcy proceedings to get out of some store leases and close lowest performers.
"I don't see how they could emerge from bankruptcy without becoming leaner and meaner," Green said.
"There are some chains that announce their store closings when they file for bankruptcy, but they're usually publicly traded, and that's done for the public markets," he said.
Green said sporting-goods retailers are struggling amid the global recession as many families pull back on discretionary purchases. "It's part of the household budget that's being cut," he said.