It is coming down to the wire for the former Titusville Perkins Restaurant to find a buyer, with the location currently scheduled to close at the end of business Wednesday.
According to Jack Teitz, managing director of Compass Advisory Partners, five remaining former Perkins have only a few days remaining to find a new owner or face permanent closure. Teitz is managing the sales of the locations, which are caught up in bankruptcy proceedings of their former franchise owners, 5171 Campbells Land Co. Inc.
“I am still hopeful I can find someone to take it within the next week or so, but if I am unsuccessful, then it is going to close,” Teitz said.
Alongside the Titusville location, former Perkins in Corry, the western half of Erie, Warren and Bradford remain the only properties once owned by Campbell to not find a buyer yet. Another Perkins franchisee based out of West Virginia bought 12 of the restaurants, including the one in Meadville, a one private individual bought two of the locations and another bought a single restaurant. Another five, which were located in Conneaut, Ohio; Canton, Ohio; Grove City, Canfield, Ohio; and Cranberry, were closed.
Teitz said there is only enough money to keep the remaining five locations open until Thursday or Friday by the latest, depending on the restaurant. According to him, the West Virginia franchisee, JDK Management, has indicated no willingness to buy any more locations.
“No, that’s all they want,” he said.
JDK previously made an offer to buy the 12 locations a year ago to the tune of $1.5 million, according to Teitz. Their recent acquisition came at a fraction of that, purchasing the locales for $500,000.
The news of what seems to be imminent closure is weighing heavily upon the Titusville location, according to the restaurant’s manager, Peggy Kinney.
“We’re going to miss our customers,” Kinney said. “The customers are like family — the employees are like family.”
While some of the staff have accepted positions at the Meadville Perkins, including Kinney, others will be let go should no buyer be found.
Having opened in 1977, Kinney has worked at the restaurant for nearly four decades, with a service record of approximately 39 1/2 years. As such, she has struggled with what has happened to her place of employment, even crying over the events.
“I loved all the years,” she said. “That’s why I’m still here. I’ve had no problems in all the years I worked here. Pretty rough what everyone is going through right now.”
Some hope still remains, however. Kinney said the staff are still looking for a buyer, and that a woman was recently inquiring about purchasing the locale.
Should a purchaser not be found, the future of the restaurant is uncertain. Kinney said she’s heard rumors that there would be a liquidation sale of the equipment and property.
Anyone interested in purchasing the Titusville restaurant, or any of the remaining locations, can reach out to Teitz with an offer by phone, at (412) 855-7625.
Campbells filed for bankruptcy on July 8 earlier this year. The case is currently under management in a federal bankruptcy court located in Pittsburgh. The company owned and operated 27 Perkins franchise locations across Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York, acquiring the franchise agreements from the previous owners, Unique Venture Group LLC, on Jan. 29, 2018, after that company also underwent Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
Perkins & Marie Callender LLC, the owner of the Perkins brand, alleged that Campbells owes it more than $2 million through various fees and royalty payments under the Perkins franchise agreement.
As part of the bankruptcy process, all Perkins owned by Campbells were required to remove all signage relating to Perkins and operate under a different name. The Titusville location temporarily went under the title “Titusville Family Restaurant” before later changing to “Gilded Griddle,” both names acting as placeholders until an owner can be found or the location is closed.
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