Another retailer will say goodbye to Federal Way amid bankruptcy

Federal Way
Federal Way's Joe's Sports and Outdoor, 35020 Enchanted Parkway S., announced last week that it is going out of business. A liquidation sale began April 10 and will continue until the store is empty. Goods are discounted at 10 percent to 30 percent. Gordon Brothers Group, a Boston-based liquidator, purchased Joe's approximately $128 million worth of assets for $61 million.
— image credit: Jacinda Howard/The Mirror

Giant yellow "going out of business" banners continue to pop up around Federal Way, but a Boston-based liquidator may help significantly shape the future of the failed retail chains.

Joe's Sports and Outdoor, Circuit City and Linens 'N Things all fell victim to the U.S. economic downturn within the past year. Each filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and are in varying stages of clearing out their merchandise and laying off employees.

Joe's, the sporting goods store formerly known as G.I. Joe's, is the latest Federal Way retail chain to call it quits. The Wilsonville, Ore.-based retailer began operations 57 years ago. In early March, owners filing for bankruptcy protection announced they hoped to restructure the business and keep its 31 stores in Washington, Oregon and Idaho open.

The planned restructuring would haven given Joe's time to face its "capital challenges so that we can emerge an even stronger company with a firm financial position," said CEO Hal Smith, according to a March 5 Seattle Times article titled "Joe's Sports files for bankruptcy protection."

Last week in court, that all changed. Gordon Brothers Group, a Boston-based liquidator, offered to purchase Joe's for $61 million, according to an April 10 Spokesman-Review article titled "Joe’s to begin liquidation soon."

The liquidator will sell approximately $128.5 million worth of assets, most at discounted prices. A going-out-of-business sale began April 10 and will continue until all merchandise has been cleared out. As of April 16, goods sold between 10 and 30 percent off.

Nationally, Joe's employs about 1,600 people. Federal Way's store is at 35020 Enchanted Parkway S. A manager at the local store, who was unwilling to give her name due to corporate policy, said she was unsure when Federal Way employees would be let go. She is not aware of any efforts on behalf of Gordon Brothers Group to provide severance packages or assist laid-off workers in locating other employment opportunities, the employee said.

Federal Way's 55,120-square-foot Joe's building is already available for lease at the asking price of $9.25 per square foot, according to property listings seen on DJM Realty, owned by Gordon Brothers Group.

Other retail chains

DJM is also playing a part in Circuit City's future. The retail chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2008 and began liquidating its products in mid-January. Federal Way's store was once located at 34920 Enchanted Parkway S.

Many Circuit City establishments stand alone and are appealing as real estate investments or new leasing opportunities, according to a Feb. 5 Reuters article titled "DJM Realty to Dispose of All Remaining Circuit City Real Estate in the United States." Four locations, stationed in California, Illinois, Minnesota and Virginia, have yet to be sold or leased, according to the Web site. DJM spokespersons were unavailable for comment on when the Federal Way location was leased or sold as well as what will replace the electronics supplier.

In addition to Joe's and Circuit City, Gordon Brothers Group has a hand in yet another national retail chain once operating in Federal Way.

In February, the liquidators with the help of Hilco Consumer Capital L.P. acquired intellectual property. This can include product brands, retailer names, prescription files, trademarks, and customer and transaction lists previously owned by Linens 'N Things. The chain will surface again in a different form later this year, according to Feb. 6 press release from Gordon Brothers Brands. Many of the chains' most successful brands will make their way into other retail stores and be offered online, according to the release.

A fourth Federal Way retailer, Boater's World Marine Centers at 31417 Pacific Highway S., is also taking its final bow and saying goodbye to employees soon. The company plans to discontinue business by the end of June. As part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, 129 nationwide Boater's World stores, owned by Ritz Camera Centers Inc., will diminish.

Ritz, based in Beltsville, Md., filed for bankruptcy protection in late February. It will close some of its camera stores along with Boater's World. A Boater's World going-out-of-business sale is under way at all store locations. Gordon Brothers Group is not affiliated with this Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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