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Why this Gainesville shutter company filed for bankruptcy
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The manufacturing floor of The Louver Shop is seen in this photo from the grand opening of its Gainesville location. - photo by Erin O. Smith

American Home Products LLC, a shutter and blind company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 29.

The company owns The Louver Shop Inc. and is headquartered in Gainesville. Through Chapter 11, it will attempt to reorganize its debt while continuing to operate its business.

Wayne Tanner, the company’s chief restructuring officer, revealed in a court declaration of bankruptcy that American Home Products has total liabilities of $27 million.

The Louver Shop in Gainesville uses around 42 dealers to install its products. American Home Products has served as a blind, shutter and shade manufacturer and installer for over 40 years and employs around 113 people.

Tanner said in the court declaration of bankruptcy that the company “faced a number of significant challenges over the past few years, ultimately leading to the filing of this Chapter 11 case.”

He said the company experienced production and quality issues, which sparked partially from consolidating production to the Gainesville facility. Despite aiming to reduce overhead and become more efficient, he said this change led to labor turnover, extended lead times, missed delivery dates and an increase in damaged or non-compliant goods.

In late January 2019, American Home Products made the decision to discontinue its relationship with The Home Depot and shut down its Danmer Inc. operations on the West Coast, which the company acquired in 2015.

“After downsizing and ceasing certain of its unprofitable business lines in February 2019, the debtor’s annualized revenues are projected to be approximately $18 million,” Tanner said in the court statement. “...historically, prior to downsizing, the debtor’s annualized revenues were approximately $36 million.”

Tanner’s filing states that American Home Products plans to use the Chapter 11 process “to consummate a going concern sale of the business to the stalking horse bidder or to any interested and qualified party making a higher ... offer.”

A “stalking horse” is a business term describing a procedure in which a bankrupt debtor attempts to preserve the value of its assets.

The stalking horse bidder’s offer is $8 million, which would include all assets and hire “substantially all current employees” at their prevailing wage rates.

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