Originally created 01/19/01

Bankruptcy claims another area business



The Waccamaw's HomePlace located behind Augusta Mall will close because of massive restructuring within the store's parent company, Homeplace of America Inc.

The company filed a petition Wednesday in Delaware for reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The local store would close after a six- to eight-week closeout sale that would be conducted after a court-appointed liquidator is selected in February.

Disappointing holiday sales, problems with implementing its new computer system and the inability to secure alternative financing sources contributed to the decision.

The company will shut down 38 stores nationwide as it scrambles to pay its debtors.

"We needed to get rid of any store that had negative cash flow in order to make the rest of the company healthy," company spokesman Chris Beseler said. "Unfortunately, Augusta was one of them."

The Augusta store employs about 35 people, 40 percent of whom are full time.

"It's not an easy decision," Mr. Beseler said. "Augusta has been a good town for a long time, but the location behind the mall has gone through some changes. It's one of those things that we anguished over, but we decided we really didn't have a choice right now."

Daily operations at the company's 84 remaining stores and three distribution centers will continue as usual.

The company also announced Thursday it has received a post-bankruptcy filing commitment from a group of lenders for $150 million in debtor-in-possession financing.

Reach John Bankston at (706) 823-3352 or jbanks15@hotmail.com.