Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Swoozie's going out of business

Atlanta-based gift and stationery chain Swoozie's - which has two Charlotte-area stores, at SouthPark's Morrison and at Blakeney - is going out of business. 

The nine-year-old company sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month and is liquidating after failing to find a buyer that would keep its 43 stores operating. Instead, Hilco Merchant Resources, a suburban Chicago company that has also helped shut down Circuit City and Blockbuster stores, among others, bought Swoozie's assets for $7.43 million. (They have a retail value of more than $18 million.) At the time of the bankruptcy filing, Swoozie's blamed its financial woes on the recession and the poor performance of 13 stores it had acquired in the Northeast.

If you're interested in sending the chain a sympathy card - or stocking up on other greetings - take heed: Closing sales are now in progress, with all in-stock merchandise on sale at up to 30 percent off, Hilco said in a news release. 

In a letter posted on the company's Web site, Swoozie's founder Kelly Plank Dworkin expressed disappointment at the outcome: "This isn't just a business for me," she wrote. "This is my life, my family and my passion....Although I am so sincerely sorry for any pain or hardship this situation is causing, I will always appreciate and hold dear the people and the experiences that Swoozie's has introduced along the way. I am a woman of faith, I am confident that this has a larger purpose that will one day make sense."

8 comments:

JR said...

Thanks for posting this, but this information is a few weeks old. It was fairly common knowledge that they would end up liquidating, based on market conditions and the overall still slumping economy.
- How many local people will be losing their jobs?
- How many millions in receivables will be lost due to this BK?
- What is the impact of this on suppliers and other SMBs (small-to-medium sized businesses) that sold to Swoozies?

I realize this is just a blog post, but a little bit of googleing and adding some thoughtful insight or analysis prior to posting would have made this a useful post.

Anonymous said...

I tried to shop there at Christmas time but they didn't have anything I wanted to buy. It was just a bunch of frilly girls stuff, and I was indeed buying for a girl, but the merchandise was just cheap plastic stuff and didn't do anything practical. I found some fuzzy slippers there, but they were twice the price that I could have gotten them elsewhere. I like small businesses, but this one was targeting millionaire housewives with enough spending money to waste it on froo froo toys for their daughters and country club parties. I think the owner of the chain used their personal tastes to stock the sales floor, but didn't know how to think about items which the customer cares about enough to purchase. Maybe a visit from Mary Queen of Shops would have helped.

Paperly said...

If you love stationery in Charlotte, and you don't know where to get your stationery "fix" now that Swoozie's is gone, you might wish to attend Paperly's upcoming event: 3-days only (April 20-22, 2010).

Learn more at http://www.paperly.com/charlotte

Anonymous said...

- What is the impact of this on suppliers and other SMBs (small-to-medium sized businesses) that sold to Swoozies?

Some of this is coming clear. Cross my Heart is going out of business directly due to the $160k loss, and Inviting Company and Design Design are troubled by their exposure.

One has to imagine that Mud Pie will fail, and Heartstrings may have difficulty dealing with a $283k writeoff.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious where anonymous is receiving his/her information? I work for Inviting Company and we're still going strong. Could you be the same gossip monger over on Cinda Baxter's blog? Making the rounds I see...

Holly Bretschneider said...

If you are a Charlotte stationery lover, and you want to shop at a local, independent retail storefront owned by a woman who is a part of the Charlotte community and that has award-winning customer service, visit Salutations in Ballantyne Village.

http://www.salutations.com
http://www.facebook.com/Salutations

Bennie Sawrey said...

It is best for companies to find alternative ways with their marketing in case there is a recession. Whenever there is, the company should survive through it. As part of their strategic planning, recession should be part of their future predictions. That way, they'll be able to come up with a planned solution.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Swoozie's for two years, Besides myself, the sales team brought in much business between family, friends and neighbors.
I say the manager is the one to blame at this store. Without reason, she let the "older gals" go; was such a trouble maker and Swoozie's was swoozied by her!!!We tried to tell you, but no one listened to the truth!!!!!