Arkansas liquidator buys Brodkey’s

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Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 12:00 am

Brodkey’s Jewelers has been sold to Wilkerson and Associates, an Arkansas liquidator. The 132-year-old jewelry retailer, which operates seven stores in Nebraska and two in Iowa, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February.

Brodkey’s owners had hoped to find a buyer for the ongoing business.

“There are two ways to sell in the retail industry — you can sell it to a liquidator or as a going concern,” said Robert Ginn, Brodkey’s corporate attorney.

Wilkerson and Associates, which purchased the rights to liquidate the assets for the benefit of the estate, said that a buyer has expressed a strong interest in five of the chain’s seven Nebraska jewelry stores. If the sale goes through, those stores would not operate under the Brodkey’s name, said Bobby Wilkerson, Wilkerson’s president.

“Other people are interested in other stores,” Wilkerson added.

The liquidation sale, which is now in effect at Brodkey’s nine locations, offers discounts on jewelry, watches and other merchandise, along with store furniture, fixtures and equipment.

The sale could continue through the end of the month or longer, with some stores remaining open longer than others depending on sales results, Wilkerson said.

Interest has been limited to Nebraska locations, which include two Omaha stores, and locations in Bellevue, Grand Island, Hastings, Lincoln and Norfolk. So far, there has been no interest in Brodkey’s two Iowa stores, located in Council Bluffs’ Mall of the Bluffs and West Des Moines’ Valley West Mall, he said.

The jewelry retailer determined that its business was “underperforming.” Bankruptcy records said Brodkey’s owed more than 50 creditors between $1 million and $10 million.

The recent recession and online sales have taken a toll on independent jewelers, industry analysts say.

Brodkey’s, which opened its first store at 13th and Douglas Streets in 1880, was founded by Morris Brodkey and his seven brothers, who came to the United States from Lithuania.

The Brodkey’s name is also for sale, Wilkerson said.

A call to Oliver Keene, Brodkey’s chief executive, was not returned.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1142, janice.podsada@owh.com

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