Brodkey's Jewelers, a family-owned chain that opened in Omaha in 1880, has filed for bankruptcy and plans to close its stores.
The company says the business has under-performed. It will sell its assets to pay creditors between $1 million and $10 million, according to a filing Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Nebraska.
Brodkey's has nine stores. Four are in the Omaha metropolitan area; the others are in Lincoln, Grand Island, Norfolk, Hastings, Neb., and Des Moines.
The company announced in May that it had hired a new chief executive, Oliver Keene, an industry veteran.
In August, Brodkey's received $3 million in financing from Salus Capital Partners, according to JCK Magazine, which covers the jewelry industry.
Brodkey's filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and listed between 50 and 100 creditors.
Morris Brodkey opened the first store in 1880 with one of his seven brothers at 13th and Douglas Streets in downtown Omaha.
He and other members of the Brodkey family had immigrated to the United States from Lithuania between 1875 and 1881.
The early stores carried a range of merchandise and services, from household appliances to optician services. That was typical of small independent jewelers trying to bring customers through the door and build credit accounts, recalled Sherman Brodkey, president of Brodkey Brothers Inc., in 2006.
The company later focused entirely on fine jewelry and watches. Brodkey's became part of a thriving downtown retail district that included J.L. Brandeis and Sons, Goldstein-Chapman, Natelson's and Landon's.
In September 1989, the family closed the downtown location at 16th and Harney Streets and moved its corporate offices to west Omaha as part of a store expansion.
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