By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
MISSOULA, MONT. – Vann’s, the bankrupt CE and majap specialty chain, has been acquired by a Texas conglomerate for $4.5 million.
The buyer of record, a holding company called McMagic Partners, intends to operate the Montana chain as a going concern, Vann’s Chapter 7 trustee Richard Samson said.
The retailer will be led by former Panasonic and LG Electronics regional sales exec Greg Regelbrugge, who assumed his new role as CEO last week.
Regelbrugge told employees that the immediate focus will be on taking care of local customers while righting the business. The new company, Vann’s Acquisition, LLC, will continue to operate its five remaining Vann’s locations, its mall-based ON Store boutique in Missoula, and its Vanns.com web site, although the emphasis will be on supporting its Montana customer base.
“I want to focus on Montana,” Regelbrugge said. “I don’t want to be everything to everyone.”
No decision has been made about the future of Bigskycountry.com, an outdoor clothing and equipment retailer launched last year by former Vann’s chairman, president and CEO George Manlove.
Regelbrugge, formerly Panasonic’s Western U.S. national accounts VP, added that Vann’s founder Pete Vann played a major role in his decision to purchase the business. “Pete Vann [who founded the chain in 1961] did one heckuva job building a great company with a great reputation. I will do my best to honor that reputation.”
According to published reports, Mc- Magic is a subsidiary of Texas-based Khaledi Group, which controls 38 companies including a Southwest CE chain, HK Global Free, where Regelbrugge had once served.
Vann’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August, several weeks after losing a major line of credit. The company said it had gone through several rounds of restructuring in an attempt to save the business, but financial support was deemed insufficient, forcing Vann’s to move into a structured liquidation. The retailer moved from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 liquidation last month to expedite the chain’s sale to a new buyer.
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