Middle East meets Midwest

After a year and a half of ”substantial” losses, Krigel’s Jewelers, Overland Park, Kan., with 21 stores in the Midwest, has declared bankruptcy as part of a sales agreement with a Middle Eastern company.

ARY Jewellers of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which has seven jewelry stores overseas, is purchasing Krigel’s in order to tap into the U.S. market. ARY intends to turn its new business into a national chain, hoping to open 200 stores within two years.

Scott Krigel, president of Krigel’s, hopes to have the bankruptcy proceedings finalized by the end of March 2001. Bankruptcy terms dictate that most of the company’s vendors get 100 cents on the dollar while 63 vendors will receive 60 cents on the dollar. Krigel will continue to head the chain for at least one year as part of an agreement with ARY Jewellers. All 250 Krigel’s employees will keep their jobs, and in light of upcoming expansion efforts, Krigel says the company will be hiring more workers. ”ARY is looking for acquisitions,” says Krigel.

Increased competition from other mall-based vendors, including Helzberg Diamonds, forced Krigel to sell his company.