W.T. Harvey, once one of Ace Hardware’s largest LBM dealers, has filed Chapter 11, according to an article in the Columbus Ledger Enquirer. The Columbus, Ga.-based chain, which once operated seven locations in Georgia and Alabama, never recovered from the 2008 housing market collapse, according to president and CEO Bailey Gross.
The filing in bankruptcy court of the Middle District of Georgia, also mentioned losing business to a number of competitors entering the market in recent years. Those include 84 Lumber, Pro-Built Supply and Brand Vaughn Lumber, all of which are still operating, according to the article.
The company’s total assets are listed as $2 million as of Dec. 1, with total debts of just under $5.2 million. The top four creditors are Allied Building Stores in Monroe, La.; Ace Hardware in Charlotte, N.C.; Dairyman's Supply Company in Gadsden, Ala.; and American Lumber in Birmingham, Ala. The amounts owed to those range from $259,322 to $128,145.
W.T. Harvey was founded in 1863 by William Thomas Harvey, who served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. His great grandson, Wilfred “Bubber” Gross Jr., operated the business for 50 years, until he passed away this January. His son Bailey now heads the operation, which has two Georgia locations, near downtown Columbus and Phenix City.
Although some employees have been furloughed, the business hopes to either restructure under Chapter 11 or find a buyer that will keep the operation going locally, according to the Ledger Enquirer.