While Brodkey’s Jewelers will liquidate, the company still hopes a bidder will pick up its store leases and continue to operate them as jewelers, CEO Oliver Keene tells JCK.
“The bidding process just got too expensive,” he says. “But there are a couple of candidates we hope to come in and buy some individual leases.”
Keene says the company’s intellectual property is also for sale, and that may have value, too.
“The Brodkey’s name still has value in the Midwest,” he says.
Despite the company’s problems, Keene believes smaller regional chains have a future in the jewelry industry.
“I still think there is potential out there,” he says. “There are a lot of consumers that still want to buy from smaller chains.”
He says Brodkey’s was never able to recover from the hit it took from the recession, particularly in 2008.
“Once they got underwater there just wasn’t any recovery,” he says. “Regular banks aren’t willing to finance jewelry businesses anymore.”
“There are lenders out there, but they make sure they don’t have any chance of losing anything, they put the burden all on the retailer,” he says. “If you can’t hit it right out of the blocks you are in trouble.”
As for Keene, a veteran of Helzberg Diamonds and Michael Hill, he says he will stay with the company “until it’s all squared away.”