Prime Choice Foods Files BK; Retains HEP

By July 5, 2014News

BRISTOL, Va. — City-based snack maker Prime Choice Foods has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is seeking a buyer or investor, according to a written statement from the company.

Prime Choice has retained Heritage Equity Partners, a Maryland-based investment banking services firm, in hopes of finding a buyer, partner or investor. The family-owned business produces a wide range of primarily corn-based snack products at its two facilities in Bristol, Virginia.

“We are actively pursuing options that will allow our company to not only continue operating, but also to emerge from bankruptcy properly capitalized and well positioned to continue serving customers and working with our vendors,” Prime Choice President Jose Gomez said in the statement. “The support from both groups has been phenomenal and I believe is a testament to the way we conduct our business. As a family-run company, we have deep relationships with the groups we work with and we are eager to maintain those and see what options are available to us through this process.”

The company offers organic, natural and baked items, mainly from corn-based foods, and is considered a market leader in developing, producing and packing product for many private labels for several national grocery and specialty retail chains, according to the statement.

Mayor Catherine Brillhart said Wednesday she hadn’t heard about the bankruptcy.

“That’s certainly not good news. We will certainly work with them in every way we can,” Brillhart said. “We try to work with all our businesses as best we can — new and existing.”

The company’s 36,000-square-foot main production facility on Newton Street was refurbished in 2002 and its main line can produce 1,300 pounds of chips per hour. A second, larger facility on Thomas Road near Interstate 81’s Exit 7, has a similar production line and includes storage and distribution operations.

“The company is in need of working capital to support growth and we are exploring many possible scenarios to solve this problem, including new money, either debt or equity, a joint-venture partner, or a going concern buyer,” according to Matt LoCascio, a managing director at Heritage Equity Partners.