Bankruptcy judge approves plan for Herb Philipson’s closing sales


Liquidation sales at the three remaining Herb Philipson’s Army and Navy Stores may start any day, after approval was given by a bankruptcy judge.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Diane Davis on Thursday, Aug. 29 approved a plan to allow a liquidation sale to proceed at the stores in Rome, New Hartford and Herkimer.

“The sales could begin as early as today,” said Michael Hamersky, an attorney for Philipson’s.

In order to expedite the sales, Davis approved a request by the parties to waive certain requirements of New York law governing liquidation sales, particularly those requiring a liquidation license and relating to moving merchandise among stores.

If any goods are left after the sale, the creditors will leave them to the debtor to dispose of as needed but not to be the responsibility of the respective landlords.

The sales are expected to take about three months. They will likely mark the end of a Rome company begun nearly 70 years ago.

The company started in downtown Rome in 1951. A longtime Herb Philipson’s employee, Guy Viti, had purchased the company from the Philipson family in March 2018. At the time it had stores in locations in Rome, Liverpool, New Hartford, Newark, Oneida, Oswego, Herkimer, DeWitt and Watertown.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in October, listing assets in the range of $1 million to $10 million and liabilities of $10 million to $50 million. It obtained financing earlier this year in hopes of continuing, but sales did not materialize as expected. It lost more than $4.5 million since the filing of the case through June 30, according to a motion filed by the trustee in the case seeking conversion to a bankruptcy-law Chapter 7 liquidation. 

No one bid at a July auction for the company.

A hearing was scheduled for Sept. 18 to convert the case to one governed by Chapter 7 of the federal bankruptcy law, which pertains to liquidation, or completely closing, of a business rather than reorganizing under Chapter 11.

Herb Philipson’s remaining stores are in Rome on Black River Boulevard, plus New Hartford and Herkimer.


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