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MailTribune.com
  • Sportsman's Warehouse emerges from Chapter 11

    Medford employees breathe sigh of relief
  • Sportsman's Warehouse Inc. has survived a journey through bankruptcy.
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  • Sportsman's Warehouse Inc. has survived a journey through bankruptcy.
    The Delaware judge overseeing the sporting-goods retailer's bankruptcy proceedings has approved its blueprint to exit bankruptcy a little more than four months after it sought Chapter 11 protection.
    Sportsman's Warehouse operates 26 stores, including a 45,200-square-foot store in Medford's Delta Center.
    Fueled by an injection of cash from Seidler Equity Partners, a private-equity firm based in Southern California, Sportsman's Warehouse expects to formally emerge from bankruptcy by Aug. 15.
    Medford Store Manager Chase Gallentine said his 65 employees were excited by the news.
    "You could feel the energy today," Gallentine said. "I've been with Sportsman's Warehouse almost six years, when the company was going through a growth phase and going through growth pains, when times were good and through a trying seven or eight months. My heart went out to all the friends I had worked with in five or six markets."
    Judge Christopher Sontchi of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware approved the company's reorganization plan on Thursday.
    Founder Stu Utgaard indicated earlier this month he would no longer be running the company when and if Sportsman's Warehouse emerged from Chapter 11 proceedings. However, he predicted the outdoor chain would be the first retailer to avoid liquidation since Congress overhauled bankruptcy laws in 2005.
    The reorganized company will be led by Chief Executive Officer John Schaefer, who came from the sporting goods company Team Express.
    Employees at the company's Midvale, Utah, headquarters said Friday they were unsure what Utgaard's role would be.
    Sportsman's Warehouse Chief Financial Officer Kevan Talbot praised both clients and suppliers.
    "We are excited to continue serving our loyal customer base and are grateful for the strong support of our vendor partners throughout the bankruptcy process," Talbot said in a release. "This support made our reorganization possible."
    The company filed for bankruptcy on March 21 after announcing the sale of 15 stores to United Farmers of Alberta, a Calgary-based cooperative, and the liquidation of 23 others. One of Sportsman's chief competitors in the Northwest, Joe's Sports, Outdoor & More, was forced to liquidate in April and closed its stores at the end of May.
    Reach Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com.
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