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Bottom line: Luxury bedding company not hitting the sack just yet as bankruptcy plan OK’d

  • John Lippman. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Business Writer
Published: 9/26/2020 9:47:26 PM
Modified: 9/26/2020 9:47:24 PM

The past few years have been challenging for Anichini, the luxury linen and bedding company founded by Susan Dollenmaier, who brought the ancient craft of fine textiles from Italy and India to workshops in central Vermont.

The Great Recession forced her to greatly scale back her Tunbridge-based business. An ugly legal fight with an investor cost Anichini a substantial sum of money. Then the coronavirus pandemic shut off one of the company’s biggest customers — luxury hotels — and pushed Anichini to file for bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

Finally, good news: A bankruptcy court judge has approved Anichini’s reorganization plan, which includes a resolution with secured creditors and new investors who will help stabilize the company going forward.

The plan, which benefited from changes to the bankruptcy code last year that were designed to aid small businesses, leaves Dollenmaier, who started Anichini in 1981, as CEO.

As part of the reorganization, cousins Brendan and Gaelen McKee are advancing a loan to Dollenmaier, who will pledge her stock in Anichini to the McKees as collateral for the loan, according to bankruptcy court filings. Brendan McKee will serve as interim CFO at no cost until a permanent CFO is named.

The McKees also will hold two of five board seats, serving alongside Dollenmaier.

Dollenmaier, via email, said the reorganization will allow Anichini to move forward as a newly capitalized company and that her “passion for textiles thrives unabated; maybe even more so as I have been held back for so long.”

By emerging from bankruptcy, which limited what the company could do, Dollenmaier said it will soon be “bringing forward” cashmere from Kashmir “embroidered by men,” hand-loomed 100% linen textiles from Naples, silk and cashmere and quilts from India, and a “potential handloom project in Guatemala.”

The Anichini store on Route 4 in Quechee also will reopen this week, and Dollenmaier said she “hit the jackpot” at the manager position, hiring Jim Kennedy, who formerly headed product development at Williams-Sonoma.

And on the drawing board are plans to open a retail store in New York City in 2021, although Dollenmaier acknowledged that depends on “how COVID goes.”

The bankruptcy filing details the financial stress that the pandemic has had on the company, which laid off five employees, cutting its payroll from 17 workers to 12, in addition to salaries temporarily being reduced by 50%.

But Anichini anticipates that sales will increase in the years ahead, to $3 million for the 12 months ending Aug. 21, 2021, to $3.7 million in the following year and to $4.4 million in the third year, according to the filing.

Dollenmaier described her new partners in Anichini as “young, smart and dynamic.”

Gaelen McKee, who is the partner of Dollenmaeier’s daughter Ivy Mix, is president of Brooklyn SolarWorks, and Brendan McKee is CFO of Silver Therapeutics, a Williamstown, Mass.-based owner of three cannabis dispensaries in Massachusetts.

Station break

Drivers passing the intersection of Sykes Mountain Avenue and Route 5 in White River Junction may be wondering what’s up with the convenience store and gas station complex known as Station Market, which includes the Greyhound Bus depot.

Gone is the China Moon Buffet restaurant inside the now-gutted interior of the building, and on the corner outside a sandwich board announces that The Station Market — which will now be simply called The Station — is “under new management.”

The store is now being operated by Lebanon-based Summit Distributing, which advises and operates convenience store/gas stations throughout New England — including the Mobil/7-11 on Route 5 in Fairlee.

The $350,000 renovation project entails knocking down the wall between the convenience store and former restaurant in order to open up the floor plan into a single space.

The property is owned by Judy Stevens, of Lebanon, according to Hartford town assessing records. Stevens is an adult and senior program manager with Hanover’s department of parks and recreation.

Tom Frawley, president of Summit Distributing, said via email that he is “not in a position to discuss plans for the space” formerly occupied by China Moon Buffet although he noted it would “most likely” include a “food component.” He noted the Mobil gas pumps and Greyhound depot are all continuing to operate during the renovation project.

The Station Market is known for one other thing: one of the biggest outdoor clocks in the Upper Valley. At present, however, the hands on the Station’s clock remain timelessly frozen at 6:02.

“The clock is being repaired,” Frawley said, calling it “one of the casualties of gutting the China Moon space.”

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.




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