The financial problems for the specialty butcher with six locations in
All told, the company is facing more than
The problems appear centered around the corporate-owned Meat House locations in
All franchises, including one in
Meat House co-founders
"We are negotiating and have been negotiating with multiple potential buyers, investors and joint venturers," Gannon said. "Simultaneously we have been negotiating with all the secured creditors and the significant unsecured creditors. Those negotiations in my experience go better conducted privately, although we have been very, very open with all of the parties."
Hoping for a rescue
News of the company's financial problems spread fast after the corporate stores were closed, allegedly for renovation, earlier in the month. Parent told a television reporter at the time that the company had run into financial difficulty but was hoping for an imminent rescue by a new investor.
The lawsuits filed against the company by landlords and investors are rife with references to promises of new investors and payment plans that were agreed to but never executed over the past two years, despite the fact that the corporation collected an average of
Creditors are now trying to attach future franchise payments, along with bank accounts, real estate and other assets of the corporation and its owners. A source close to the negotiations said one of the franchise owners made an offer to purchase the corporation, but that deal fell through. Since then, the source said, some franchise owners have been withholding their franchise fees.
Franchise owners for the time being can only honor gift cards sold at their locations, while the value of gift cards sold from the corporate locations is uncertain.
In addition to court action, the case has attracted the attention of several state offices.
Senior Assistant Attorney General
"We have to look for violations of the Consumer Protection Act, which is our primary charge," he said.
State Commissioner of Labor James W. Craig said his office has received 27 claims for unpaid wages as of Wednesday, and is scheduling them for wage hearings. "Depending on what happens at the hearings, we will take further action to try to get them paid somehow," he said.
Charity money in limbo
First established in 2004 by the
Veinotte said the event raised substantial amounts in past years, but has never raised
Operation Thank You is one example of the community involvement efforts associated with the Meat House since it was founded by Rosberg and Parent in 2003.
The company also hosted a Polar Grill Fest to benefit a new arts center in the Seacoast area, and "Cookouts for a Cause" for local charities.
For the first 10 years of its existence, the company looked like it was destined for long-term success.
For reasons that may be known only to Rosberg and Parent, their corporate operation began to unravel, even as franchise holders claim to enjoy continued financial success.
"It's going to take a little bit of time to sort all this out," said Boffetti, "but we're working on it."
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