Skip to comments.American TV & Appliance closing all 11 stores; 989 will lose jobs
Posted on 02/17/2014 5:12:56 PM PST by Graybeard58
Doug Reuhl, president and CEO of American since 1988, blamed an unforgiving economy, especially over the past five years, for the closure and said the company would begin a going-out-of-business sale Thursday to liquidate its entire inventory of furniture, electronics and appliances.
"While this is a sad moment, it is also a proud moment," Reuhl said in a news release. "It's a moment to be proud of our efforts and to be proud of what we have delivered to the community." A switchboard operator at American TV refused to answer additional questions Monday or transfer a reporter to anyone else, noting the company had decided not to provide any additional information, including how many jobs will be lost in Madison.
American TV's 11 locations are in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Iowa, including two in Madison: 2404 W. Beltline Highway and at 5215 High Crossing Boulevard.
The company's news release contained no details about the number of employees affected locally, but said all employees received advance notice of the closure and would be compensated, with benefits, through a "notification period" that was not further described or defined. The company also said "most employees" would continue working through the "closing process," but did not reveal how long that's expected to be or give a final store closure date.
Concerning the open-ended going-out-of-business sale, the company said American TV would continue to "fully serve" customers during this time, including: --Honoring gift cards and providing refunds to customers who don't want to redeem them.
--Considering all extended warranty policies purchased by customers valid and insured through a third-party insurance company.
--Providing all customers with open orders either a delivery of their goods or a refund of their deposit.
--Repairing or returning to customers all products in the company service center prior to the closing.
The company also reported Monday that is filing a Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 128 Receivership for the protection of its creditors. Michael Polsky will be appointed as the receiver for the business.
In a 2008 story for Wisconsin Lawyer magazine, Milwaukee bankruptcy expert Jeffrey L. Murrell described Ch. 128 as an "old, but still little-known, alternative to bankruptcy" that Murrell said should be explored for clients who "have more debt than they can handle, wish to repay, and need the help of a structured plan to get back on their feet." In the news release Monday, Reuhl expressed thanks to its "millions of loyal customers" and to its "dedicated family of employees" over the years.
In March, the retailer announced it was discontinuing sales of a number of small electronics items, including computers, cameras and car audio systems.
American TV vice president Paul Kollberg at that time told a State Journal reporter via email that the decision was part of the company's continual review of its business model and product offerings to "address the changing retail landscape." "In our latest review," he said in the March e-mail, "we've identified a few categories that are simply very mature or challenged, or that are being significantly impacted by smartphone technology." Kollberg at that time said American TV stores would convert the space formerly used for those items to demonstrate new technologies such as 4K TV and to increase display space for furniture for sale.
And before that, in June 2011, American TV announced it would leave the St. Louis market, citing the down economy for the closure of four stores in that area and a distribution center. Liquidation sales also were held for those Missouri store closings -- in O'Fallon, Bridgeton, Fenton and Cottleville, plus the distribution center in Earth City, Mo. -- but the company at that time declined to say how many jobs were eliminated.
"The effects of the recession in St. Louis got too difficult for the business to sustain," company spokesman Stephen DeShong said in June 2011.
Former American TV head Len Mattioli could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.
Mattioli, 70, known for his wild store promotions and commercials, retired from the company about five years ago and in March opened an electric bicycle store on Odana Road in Madison.
In the news release Monday, company officials said the last five years had been "very difficult for our industries," adding they would be "closing our business forever" after completing the final sale.
"We have fought hard, valiantly and with great integrity," the news release said. "We are proud of our efforts but the economy has been unforgiving
I bought a refrigerator/freezer from this company in Peoria, Illinois a couple years ago and the one they brought me was a lemon. It's temperature could not be regulated right to keep the fridge items from freezing. A call to the store and they had a new one delivered to my house the next day. No problems with it at all.
Not attention grabbing really "only" 989 jobs after all. Not attention grabbing except to those 989 American families affected that is and this stuff is happening all over the country - obama, period.
Selling each unit at a loss, but making a profit on the volume didn’t work out?
In business for 60 years and then along comes obama.
I remember back in the day when Crazy TV Lenny was giving away a free bike with each advertised low-priced appliance/electronic/furniture deal...
Sounds like they had the basics figured out so I don’t understand your jab.
Free at last! Free at last!
or so the Dems will have to play this. They have no idea how to create jobs. Class, what happens when costs go up, such as energy, food and health care? Anyone? Buehler?
That’s right! There’s no money for anything else.
The liberation from the tyranny of employment continues!
Those were the days. heh
I don't get it either, it didn't come from the article. Maybe Paladin2 knows something that we don't know?
“Not attention grabbing except to those 989 American families affected that is and this stuff is happening all over the country”
You’re right; I really couldn’t imagine the suffering across the fifty states as this unfolds.
“I bought a refrigerator/freezer from this company in Peoria, Illinois a couple years ago and the one they brought me was a lemon.”
You were one of the lucky ones - we purchased a kitchen full of high end appliances from them and everyone was a lemon. Plus the “recommended installer” didn’t know what he was doing either. He left and never returned without finishing the job.
The Sub-Zero was a second - the freezer had a replacement part.
American did not stand behind their products or recommendations. It was a very costly experience.
I know why American TV & Appliance is going out of business. This chain isn’t the same TV Lenny’s that won the hearts of many.
I’ve never had much luck buying appliances retail. I think retail is where they dump models that are not as reliable. I usually bring in a contractor and throw in some remodeling work for him to make it worth his while. Contractors seem to have access to some good quality product. Familiar brand names like Jenn-Air, Whirlpool, GE, etc., but models you don’t see in the stores.
NOOO!.....Get with the program!
989 Americans freed to pursue their dreams!!! Hallelujah!!
989 Americans sav4ed from the dreaded “job lock”. I look forward to reading their poetry or hearing their lute recordings they will now produce.
I wonder if they got permission to fire employees.
The company was using the wrong calendar.
They evidently missed the recovery summer a few years back.
Overhead seems a bit top heavy, 989 employees for 11 stores? Sure not all were working the floor with deliveries, Accountants and such, just saying.
Buy bigger trucks and stack stuff higher.
Another victim of the Obama economy. I wonder if O should give them incentives, but I guess they are not to big to fail. :-)
Yet another company bites the dust. When will odumbo be removed?
A Madison-based company. Odds are, this family-owned business really doesn’t understand why the economy is struggling, and subsequently why their business is suffering. But they are certain of one thing; it’s not from the past 5 years of economic policy.
Good move. Electric bicycles must be big sellers in Madison. I'm surprised they haven't changed "Odana Road" to "Obama Road".
Yep, same here bought some items from the Marquette store many yrs ago, all junk. Everybody pretty much knew you had a good chance of getting ripped off there. I couldn’t believe they lasted as long as they did, but then I can’t believe that many people put OBozo in place to run our country.
I’m shocked by the number of people I’ve met who aren’t making it that don’t even bother to vote; raising a few generations of ignorant voters has paid huge dividends for Dems. Too many people that do vote get their marching orders from TV comedians at night...
John Deere just announced a large layoff, and we cut some people. This is hitting the Quad Cities pretty hard.