Those of us that work at Hanson & Payne firmly believe our bankruptcy system is a force for good. There are of course things we would change about it, but by and large it does what it is supposed to do, and it does it well. It gives people and businesses the promise of a fresh start. The planned opening of three Gander Outdoors stores in the Milwaukee area this year is a great example of what we mean.
Kenosha, Sheboygan, and Waukesha will all see former Gander Mountain stores that closed when that company filed for bankruptcy re-open as Gander Outdoors stores this year.
The turn-around comes courtesy of Marcus Lemonis, who you may have seen on CNBC’s “The Profit,” and the bankruptcy system. Lemonis has built an outdoors adventure and lifestyle empire by acquiring several smaller companies who were struggling to compete with the Cabela’s and Bass Pros of the world. He is presumably gaining market share and expertise through his purchases that will allow him to compete with the big guys. But he wouldn’t have been able to do what he is doing as well as he is doing it outside of the bankruptcy system.
The bankruptcy system gives those who have filed the ability to restructure and rethink. It can minimize financial pressures that stifle innovation. And it allows owners to step back and reflect on how best to move forward.
Our firm works with a lot of companies that are contemplating bankruptcy, so we know that it can be hard to appreciate these benefits when all you can think about is the fact that you might be going out of business. We understand that bankruptcy is not easy or exciting choice when it is your business.
We all mourn a bit for the Kenosha County-founded catalog retailer that grew into that local Gander Mountain store with the white gander flying against a red backdrop. But it is also exciting to consider that instead of being lost to history, the company has been reborn and will continue to serve lovers of the great outdoors in our area.