Commerce Corp. Forced Into Bankruptcy

Commerce Corporation

Five creditors filed a joint petition to force Commerce Corp. into Chapter 7 bankruptcy in mid February, court papers show. Commerce did not contest being placed in bankruptcy, but filed to have the Chapter 7 bankruptcy changed to Chapter 11, which the court granted on March 14.

Chapter 7 would have forced Commerce into immediate liquidation, while Chapter 11 allows it room to operate.

In its court response to the involuntary bankruptcy, Commerce says it wants to pay for current employees, including bonuses for 16 employees, who “are necessary to complete the ongoing liquidation and disposition of its assets.” The same court document also mentions vacation payments to 30 employees. The Baltimore Sun reports that Commerce currently has 31 employees as of late February.

The five firms that filed the petition are  Dramm Corporation, Premier Horticulture, J.R. Peters, DeWitt Company and Franklin Electric. Combined, Commerce owes the companies $1.7 million.

Another reason for Commerce’s counter petition for Chapter 11 may have been an agreement it entered to dispose of its inventory. In early March, Big Lots agreed to purchase Commerce’s inventory for more than $6 million, The Baltimore Sun reports.

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3 comments on “Commerce Corp. Forced Into Bankruptcy

  1. What does that mean for IGCs? Big lots buys all of their inventory, sells it for dirt cheap and makes us independents look like we are gouging. Not only that but in that inventory are there items included that are for independents only?

  2. I heard a rumor that Richard Lessans is working for BFG Supply. How does this effect the IGC industry? I am sure the vendors will be very concerned with this.

  3. Just another reason to hope to carry something different than what a box store may carry. That is one way to add value to our business. The customers come to us for advise and then purchase it cheaper at the box store. Now they have a new store to shop at.

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