Dealer-owned hardware wholesaler Handy Hardware announced Jan. 11 that it would file for protection under Ch. 11 of the bankruptcy code. In documents filed last week, the Houston-based company listed assets and debt of $50 million to $100 million each while naming the American Water Heater Company as its largest creditor with $1.4 million due to the Johnson City, Tenn.-based firm.

Handy Hardware's filing comes two months after it announced the closure of its 2-year-old Meridian, Miss.-based distribution center, which effectively halted it's expansion into the eastern U.S., in part due to the sluggish economic recovery. Company president Tommy Schifanella told the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) last week that the company stood by its decision to close the Meridian location. 

The NRHA reports that the company's spring market will still be held Jan. 31 to Feb. 21.

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