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Belle Foods bankruptcy may lead to warehouse closure

On July 1, Belle Foods, LLC, which operates 57 grocery stores in Florida and other states, filed for bankruptcy. The privately-held companies operate under the names of Belle Foods, Piggly Wiggly and Food World. In the Chapter 11 filing, Belle Foods listed C&S Wholesale Grocers as a creditor, claiming that it owes approximately $900,000 for pension liability withdrawals and approximately $5.1 million in unpaid accounts. The company's total assets were not mentioned.

Belle Foods is a major customer of C&S, which is based in Keene, N.H. As a result of the bankruptcy, C&S may close its warehouse in Birmingham, Alabama. If the warehouse closes, more than 200 people could lose their jobs. The closure may occur as early as Aug. 28. An official for C&S did not respond to requests for comment.

Belle Foods filed paperwork in the bankruptcy court on July 5 for permission to sell 13 of the stores. After the court granted the request, the amount of interest led the company to file another document on July 24, indicating an intent to selling the remaining 44 stores.

Bankruptcy may seem confusing and daunting, but it does not have to be. When a company is struggling to make ends meet, filing for bankruptcy may offer some relief. Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows businesses to restructure debts which can often help struggling companies keep their doors open. Bankruptcy may also allow companies to sell assets in order to pay their debts. A local bankruptcy attorney may be able to help struggling business owners review their options to determine whether or not bankruptcy is the best fit. If is turns out to be the right choice, an attorney may be able to help come up with a plan for reorganization, file paperwork and guide the company throughout the process.

Source: The Packer, "Belle Foods bankruptcy could force C&S closing", Andy Nelson, July 26, 2013

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