Keywords: ridgewood corporation
Description: The Bergen County plumbing supplier, which filed for bankruptcy in July saying it was in deep financial trouble, saw revenue drop by half from 2006 to 2009. It will now be run under the name of Blackman Plumbing Supply, which acquired Ridgewood’s intangible assets.
A Long Island competitor to Ridgewood Corp. the Mahwah-based plumbing products supplier that filed for bankruptcy in July, has taken over the troubled 88-year-old company’s retail operation.
Blackman Plumbing Supply Corp. of Bayport, N.Y. acquired the Ridgewood Corp. name and other intangible assets, and is operating the dozen or so stores operated by the Mahwah company in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rockland County, said Millburn-based attorney Dan Stolz, who represents Ridgewood Corp.
The court also approved the sale for $1.2 million of Ridgewood’s Tenafly location to General Plumbing Supply, an Edison-based company. Stolz said he expected the company to run it under its own name.
Blackman hired former Ridgewood principals Jules “Mickey” Weinstein and his son, Stuart, the second and third generation owners of the company, Stolz said. The Weinsteins will head the tri-state operation they ran for Ridgewood Corp. the attorney said.
“It was very important to the Weinsteins that as many of their long term employees as possible were going to keep employment with company,” Stolz said.
Mickey Weinstein, reached at the company’s former offices in Mahwah, which is now operated by Blackman, said, “It’s just an unfortunate thing that happened with the economy. We got hurt.” He wold not comment on the change in ownership.
Stolz said he did not know if Blackman would operate the stores under its own name, or as Ridgewood Corp. Salesmen at the former Ridgewood Corp. stores in Hackensack and Westwood, however, said they now do business as Blackman, adding that the signs outside their stores would soon be changed to reflect that.
“Everything is Blackman,” said one, who declined to give his name. “I’ve even got a shirt with Blackman on it.”
Ridgewood Corp. filed for bankruptcy reorganization on July 2, saying its financial situation was deteriorating rapidly. An appraiser estimated the company was losing $100,000 to $150,000 a week.
The company, which sold plumbing, heating and air conditioning products, had outlets in Hackensack, Westwood, Hawthorne and Tenafly. It suffered substantial losses in 2008 and 2009, and company revenue, which stood at $71.7 million in 2006, had fallen to half that by 2009, according to bankruptcy court papers.
The Blackman acquisition was part of a package approved July 16 by U.S. District Bankruptcy Judge Rosemary Gambardella, sitting in Newark. Blackman took over Ridgewood Corp.’s operation within days, Stolz said.
The judge also approved the sale of most of the company’s assets to Sovereign Bank, which court papers say was owed about $5.5 million as of June by Ridgewood Corp. for past loans.
The assets included the supplier’s inventory, which an appraiser valued at $3.7 million if sold in an orderly fashion and less than half that if it was sold quickly in a liquidation sale.
Stolz said the inventory will now be sold on consignment by Blackman, which will also collect Ridgewood Corp.’s accounts receivable – taking a percentage of the proceeds.
The attorney said Sovereign would eventually receive all but about $1 million to $1.5 million of the amount owed.