Strauss Auto Closes Store Locations Abruptly
Strauss Discount Auto has filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition and abruptly closed all 45 of their locations in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Parent company SDA Incorporated filed a 15-page Chapter 11 Bankruptcy petition last night with the Newark Bankruptcy Court according to a clerk.
The company is being represented by Lowenstein Sandler Attorneys at Law in Roseland, according to the petition.
According to a message sent to the New Jersey 101.5 Facebook page, employees were told not to report to work today.
A sign posted in the front window of the Woodbridge location indicated the store had closed permanently.
WHAT IS CHAPTER 11?
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a corporate reorganization of debt. Other bankruptcies are filed primarily by individuals, according to bankruptcy attorney Douglas Mitchell Esq. owner of Mitchell Law Offices in Newark. "It's common practice when your liabilities exceed your assets but you still have a business of value that can continue to make money," Mitchell explains.
"Typically when an eleven is filed the business wants to stay open or continue in some capacity," Mitchell explains.
Strauss Auto has not said if it plans to stay open, and attorneys representing the company have not responded to Townsquare Media's request for information. According to their filing, the warm winter weather and high fuel costs combined to make customers put off repairs.
"Where a Chapter Eleven is concerned there is a possibility that some of the stores might reopen at some point or the business might take on a new capacity," Mitchell says. "All may not be lost."
The newest petition lists assets and debt both exceeding $10 million.
The company acted quickly to shut itself down. Its web sites were non-functioning save for a home page displaying a single customer service phone number, 1(800) 787-4554. Their Facebook page was removed.
Phone calls made to several of their New Jersey locations including Beachwood, Parsippany, Toms River and Wayne were all unanswered as was a phone call to their parent company, SDA Inc. in South River.
Are you affected by this closure as a customer or employee? Let us know in the comment section.
Leanne Vuksanic and Tom Mongelli contributed to this report.
ROOTS IN NEWARK
According to an archived version of their website, Strauss Discount Auto was founded in 1919 by two friends named Herman Schlenger and Harry Roth. Their first store, located on a street corner in Newark was originally known as Roth & Schlenger Home and Auto Supplies and continued to expand by opening retail stores throughout north Jersey.
In 1954, R&S Home and Auto opened its first superstore.
In 1983 R&S merged with a New York Company known as Strauss Stores. Strauss Stores was founded in 1929 by Isaac (Izzy) Strauss with the opening of five stores and a warehouse in Brooklyn. With the acquiring of the Strauss Stores the company was renamed R&S Strauss, creating the largest retailer in the Northeast, consolidating about 70 stores.
STRAUSS AUTO NEW JERSEY LOCATIONS: