September 29, 2000
“I’m really disappointed. Really disappointed.”
Ed Larkin, manager of the Rehoboth Golf Day store, made no attempt to hide his feelings when we talked on Friday, September 22. The popular golf outlet he successfully ran since its opening will be closing in the next few months.
On August 11, Trend-Lines, Inc. filed a voluntary petition for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts. The company owned the entire chain of nearly 80 Golf Day stores, but is primarily a specialty retailer of power tools and hand tools . In June, the company announced that it planned to divest itself of the golf business in order to concentrate on its tool business.
Under Chapter 11, the company continues to operate as a debtor-in-possession, while it works to arrange a court-approved settlement with its creditors.
Earlier this month, Hilco Trading Merchants, L.L.C., of Chicago, bought the Golf Day chain’s entire inventory, furniture, fixtures, and equipment. Peter Antoszyk, an attorney for Hilco, described the company simply: “They’re liquidators. That’s what they do.”
Larkin said that he and his staff received their sales posters and instructions from Hilco late last week. On Saturday, September 22, the store began its liquidation sale. Currently everything at the store is marked down by 10%. Based on the available inventory, the Rehoboth store should remain in operation for the next two to three months.
“We knew the chain was in trouble, but we were among its best performers,” said Larkin. Phil Voshell, who works part-time at the store, said that the Rehoboth shop was “constantly at the top of the list. Our sales always put us in the top 4 or 5 stores in the chain.”
Larkin said that he and several other managers hoped that the more successful stores could somehow be salvaged and continue to operate.
Ethan D. Jeffery, the bankruptcy attorney for Trend-Lines, confirmed that the company considered a sale that would have kept some of the Golf Day stores in operation. “We looked at offers [for] single stores and [for] small sets of the chain. One problem was that the landlords had the right to approve any assignments of the leases. In any event, none of the offers to buy the stores as going concerns came up to what the liquidator was offering.”
Voshell said, “The manager and assistant manager of this store created a really good base of customers. When people came into this store, they knew they were going to be helped. I think that’s a shame to lose.”
Assistant Manager George Hamby said, “This was the real golf watering hole for the community. We were the hub of the network for customers wanting to know where to play and how to get there. There will be a vacuum when it’s gone.”
Hamby also said that some customers are already asking when the liquidation discount will go beyond the current 10%. “I tell the left-handers that any clubs they’re interested in should be here for a while, but I tell the right-handers they are taking their own chances if they wait.”
Larkin said he was exploring options to keep a golf retail store open for business in the Cape Region after Golf Day closes permanently. “I’ve had discussions with our landlord, Frank [Vasilokos] and others to see how we could open it back up again. That location is good because of where it is and what we were able to do with it.”
In the meantime, sales will continue until the entire inventory is exhausted. A new shipment should be on the shelves this weekend.
Rehoboth Beach Golf Invitational set for October 2 at Kings Creek CC
The George Washington University golf team will host the inaugural Rehoboth Beach Invitational on Monday, October 2 at Kings Creek Country Club. The college tournament will be played over 36 holes, with an 8 a.m. shotgun start and a 1:30 p.m. shotgun start.
Naturally, there’s a local connection. Ron and Sue Allen, whose home is near the 5th tee at Kings Creek, are the proud parents of Scott Allen, the GW golf coach. In addition, the Delaware River and Bay Authority is providing support for the event, and Coach Allen said, “They’ve been a big help.”
This is the second time that Kings Creek has played host to a major college golf event. In 1996 the East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) held its championship on the 6,600 yard, par-72 course.
In addition to the golfers from George Washington University and Wesley College in Dover, players from eleven other colleges and universities from the Mid-Atlantic region are slated to compete: American University, Colgate University, Columbia University, Iona College, Loyala College (Baltimore), Mount St. Mary’s College, St. Joseph’s University, Temple University, Wagner College, and Western Maryland College.
Spectators are welcome, and are also encouraged to check in at the Kings Creek pro shop for a tournament package with rosters and pairings.
It’s a great opportunity to watch how some very good golfers play this beautiful and challenging Cape Region layout.