CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Grillo's Pickles

If you haven't been to the Grillo's Pickles website, you should. There, you'll find the fantastic story of how this company began. We've copied part of it here to save you a click.

Grillo's Pickles began with a pickle cart, just a small wooden stand in downtown Boston, where Travis Grillo and his friends would sell two spears for one dollar. Travis would make the pickles by night using his family's 100-year old recipe - one he'd memorized from making pickles every summer as a kid. In the morning, Travis would bike to the Boston Common and set up the cart with his buddies. They'd hang out all day, urging people to try the simple Grillo family pickle. It was a small business but Travis worked hard for it. He made more pickles, biked more miles, and slept less hours than he ever had before.
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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Factory Five Racing

Factory Five Racing was founded in 1995. Over the years they have grown from a start-up business in a small garage to become the world's largest manufacturer of "build-it-yourself" component car kits. They employ a full-time crew of about 40 people, and are located in Wareham, Massachusetts (about an hour south of Boston). They make their products right here in the USA, in the heart of New England where American manufacturing was born.
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Fred and Danny Magnanimi grew up watching their father create beautiful, handcrafted jewelry in the family's Cranston, RI jewelry manufacturing business. When the boys grew up, Fred moved to New York and began working on Wall Street as an investment banker, while younger brother Danny, still enamored by the family business, stayed home. Increased competition from overseas businesses created significant challenges for the business, but Danny was confident he could find a way for the family business to evolve and thrive. This was his mission, this was his passion.
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        Alex F. Mattera Discusses Bankruptcy Regulation Relief for Small Businesses

        Alex F. Mattera, Counsel in the Commercial Restructuring & Asset Recovery Practice Group, spoke with the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly about the Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA) of 2019, which goes into effect in February 2020. The SBRA includes a new Subchapter V to Chapter 11 regulations, streamlining procedures to expedite reorganization for “small business debtors.” The American Bankruptcy Institute estimated that approximately half of the country’s Chapter 11 cases could qualify for reorganization under the new Subchapter V.

        Alex, who was quoted extensively in the article, called the new law very exciting for bankruptcy professionals. He explained that the SBRA “sets a [Chapter 11 reorganization] standard for small businesses that is much, much easier to achieve.” He said it “effectively provides similar relief to small businesses that individual debtors currently receive under Chapter 13.”

        “If a business has total debt, secured and unsecured under [$2,725,625], they have access to this act where they can propose a [plan of reorganization],” Alex explained. “As long as they are devoting all of their net income to the repayment of creditors, they can get that plan confirmed. That’s not the case in the normal Chapter 11.”

        Alex also observed that creditors’ committees tend to multiply the costs of Chapter 11 with the hiring of lawyers, accountants and other specialists.

        “When you have a creditors’ committee, you’re effectively doubling that cost because they have the same set of professionals [as the debtor] doing a lot of the same work, but on the creditors’ behalf instead of the debtor,” he said.

        Likewise, Alex said that administrative costs are multiplied if creditors or a purchaser proposing what amounts to a hostile takeover are allowed to submit reorganization plans in competition with the debtor’s proposed plan.

        “Then you have a possibly lengthy, possibly complicated, certainly expensive process where the two plans fight it out,” he said. “Perhaps the creditors will have to vote on two or more plans, and the court will have to hold hearings on all of the plans until one comes out on top. The expense is very considerable.” Alex explained that the SBRA provides an avenue to eliminate the risk of the debtor “drowning” in those administrative expenses.

        According to Alex, a critical component of the SBRA is that it allows the debtor to retain his or her business without paying unsecured claims in full or contributing “new value” under the plan as called for under current Chapter 11.

        “That’s very onerous on small business owners, which might be a single individual or family,” he said. “Often, they may have already carried the business for a considerable amount of time, dipping into their pockets prior to the bankruptcy, and they often can’t afford to contribute still more funds.”

        While the SBRA gives more control of the Chapter 11 process to debtors at the expense of creditors, Alex said creditors for the most part will likely be fine with the changes, noting that creditors tend to prefer the orderly adjudication of claims in Bankruptcy Court as opposed to state collection actions.

        “Outside of bankruptcy, your recourse is to go to the court to try to get liens, try to get a sheriff to execute on an asset,” Alex said. “All of that is pretty difficult and uncertain, and you’re doing it in competition with every other creditor.” It is usually a better result for a creditor if the debtor stays in control and reorganizes, he said.

        “That’s particularly true if you’re an unsecured creditor because you at least get some payments,” he said. “Whereas if they liquidate, you’re likely to get nothing.”

        To read the article, please click here. (Subscription required)