Fresh Produce To Emerge From Bankruptcy With Smaller Store Base

Boulder-based Fresh Produce Sportswear is expected to emerge from bankruptcy but will do so as a slimmer firm.

Fresh Produce Holdings LLC officials said the firm received approval from a federal bankruptcy judge for two asset sales:

• Blues Stripe LLC, an investment group that includes the founders of Fresh Produce and retail industry veterans, plans to acquire the wholesale operation and the leases for 15 stores, including its Boulder store

Tiger Capital Group, an asset valuation and disposition services firm, acquired the inventories for 12 under-performing stores with the intention of liquidating the locations’ assets.

The order had not been filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of Colorado as of midday Friday.

“We are very pleased to have been able to orchestrate a transaction for the company that will allow Fresh Produce to continue operations and to carry on our promise to add color to the lives of women everywhere,” Mary Ellen Vernon, a Fresh Produce co-founder, said in a statement.

Fresh Produce, founded in 1984, is a designer, manufacturer and seller of colorful apparel for women and children.

The stores that will continue operating are located in Boulder; Tucson, Ariz.; La Jolla and Palm Desert, Calif.; Boca Grande, Delray Beach, Estero, Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Orlando, Sanibel Island, Sarasota and St. Augustine, Fla.; and Charleston and Myrtle Beach, S.C., officials said.

The stores expected to close during the next 60 days are: Foley, Ala.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Anaheim and Pasadena, Calif.; Destin, Naples, West Palm Beach and Lady Lake, Fla.; Buford, Marietta and St. Simons Island, Ga.; and a second, non-outlet location in Myrtle Beach, S.C.;

Fresh Produce filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on April 2, citing “significant and material financial challenges.”

Fresh Produce officials could not be immediately reached for comment.