Flanner’s Liquidating

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BROOKFIELD, WIS. — Flanner’s Home Entertainment is accepting bids for its assets after attempts at refinancing failed.

The one-store specialty A/V dealer suspended operations in April after its bank demanded loan repayment and vendors curtailed shipments amid a cash-flow crunch.

According to court documents cited by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, First Business Bank Milwaukee petitioned the local circuit court to place Flanner’s in receivership, arguing that principal John Flanner owed $811,213 on a $1.9 million loan.

Flanner, a past president of the Professional Audio Video Retailers Association (PARA), had entered into a forbearance agreement with the bank and hired a consultant to help liquidate or dispose of his family-held business should attempts at refinancing fail, the newspaper reported.

But the court-appointed receiver is now accepting bids for Flanner’s inventory and other assets to help settle claims from suppliers and customers.

Bidders include Abt Electronics, whose president, Mike Abt told the Journal Sentinel, “It’s super sad for me in my industry … He’s a good man.” Abt and Flanner were former members of the Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group), the buying group for independent specialty A/V dealers.

Flanner had attributed his dilemma to the economic downturn. But the failure also underscores the challenges facing independent dealers in general and A/V specialists in particular, as mass merchants encroach on core brands and product lines that were once off-limits to discount chains.

“In this day and age you can’t survive just selling TVs,” Abt told the newspaper.

Bidding is expected to conclude June 23.


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