The father-and-son team that founded Belle Foods in Birmingham just more than a year ago gave up control of the bankrupt grocery chain to New York-based Carl Marks Advisory Group (CMAG) on Monday. CMAG partner, J. Jette Campbell, will be running Belle Foods.
Al.com reports that U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Jack Caddell ordered the move last week.
CMAG will look after the financial and management interests of C&S Wholesale Grocers/Southern Family Markets, Belle Food’s largest creditor, to try to get top dollar for the remaining 44 stores Belle is now trying to sell to pay down $42 million in debt.
According to a court filing, Campbell “has specific experience in the grocery industry, having worked in both the wholesale and retail grocery sectors. Mr. Campbell has also personally served as a chief restructuring officer or served as the lead project partner in CMAG’s engagement as a chief restructuring officer on several occasions, including the bankruptcies of Moore-Handley Inc. and McManus Corp.”
At the hearing before Judge Caddell at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama in Decatur last week, Belle attorney Chris Carson noted that Campbell has experience with a large Southeastern grocery store chain and will be familiar with how Belle Foods operates, Al.com reports.
CMAG’s website lists Piggly Wiggly as a previous client.
Belle Foods is closing 13 stores in Alabama, Florida and Georgia—but Belle’s attorney indicated to Judge Caddell last week that half of those stores could be bought by another grocer or grocers and remain open.
The interest in those stores prompted Belle Foods to consider selling its remaining 44 stores rather than to try to continue to reorganize out of bankruptcy as its access to cash dwindled, Al.com reports.
According to an agreement with C&S, Bill and Jeff White will help CMAG and Campbell get in place before resigning their positions Aug. 8. An auction of the 44 stores will be completed by Oct. 4. The Whites reserved the right to attempt to put together other financing to bid on all or some of the stores, but they will get no preferential consideration over any other bidders for the stores.