Friday, June 26, 2009

Dunkin' franchisee files for Chapter 11

By Wendy Lee • THE TENNESSEAN • June 26, 2009 Dunkin' Donuts' largest franchisee in the Nashville area filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday, in part because of weaker sales during the recession. Hendersonville-based Current River Capital LLC and its managing company, Tekeni Partners LLC, operate seven locations of Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin' Donuts and Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin-Robbins in Goodlettsville, Gallatin, Nashville, Lebanon, Old Hickory and Hermitage. Tekeni is listed as the franchisee for these stores. Current River Capital employs 108 hourly and nine salaried workers. Both filed for Chapter 11. Attorney Glen Watson said his clients' situation was affected by the franchise's fast growth, opening all seven locations in a 15-month period, and sales were affected by the economic downturn. "Even healthy businesses have seen their sales soften," said Watson, who declined to discuss specific sales data. "It's just a matter of less money being spent by consumers, and they've suffered the ill effects." No stores to close Watson said the franchisee does not plan to close any locations. Current River Capital's estimated assets range from $100,001 to $500,000 and its estimated liabilities are in the range of $1 million to $10 million. Its largest creditor listed is The CIT Group/Equipment Financing Inc., owed up to $2.87 million. CIT provided financing to the two companies. Dunkin' Brands Inc. spokeswoman Michelle King said the parent company of Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin' Donuts remains committed to the Nashville market. "As many franchise systems experience in even the best of times, we have had one of our more than 1,200 U.S. franchisees file for bankruptcy due to debt obligations and capital needs that were not sustainable in this declining economic environment," King said. There are 23 Dunkin' Donuts shops and 91 Baskin-Robbins shops owned and operated by franchisees in Tennessee, King said.

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