Longtime clothing retailer Mervyn’s closed December 31. At a bankruptcy auction Tuesday, the various pieces of the carcass were auctioned off to the highest bidder.
The WSJ reported yesterday that the three sons of founder Mervin Morris bought the brand name and the Internet assets:
"It's great to have it back in our family after 31 years," said Mr. Morris, principal of Morris Management, a private-equity and real-estate investment company. "We strongly believe we have a very strong, loyal base of families in the Western states that would support Mervyn's."Meanwhile, other firms purchased the rights to three of the company’s house brands: High Sierra, Hillard & Hanson and Ellemenno.
The report is sketchy and unfortunately there’s been no original reporting by local newspapers, just wire service and other accounts that paraphrase the WSJ report. Given that the chain was based in Hayward. This is exactly the sort of story that reporters would normally do a day two story on — and the original liquidation got plenty of ink locally.
The only other details come from an online story last night at the local CBS affiliate, KPIX Channel 5. Consumer reporter Ann Werner did some original reporting (a rare decision in TV, particularly in a business story):
"My dad built a fabulous chain of stores which was unfortunately mismanaged in the last few years. We wanted to get the family name back or his name back, see if we could create it again," said Mervin's son Jeff Morris.Oddly, neither my wife nor I saw the story on the 11pm news.
The KPIX account implies that the reborn Mervyn’s may never come back as a brick and mortar store:
"I don't think you're going to see Mervyn's reincarnated in its original form. I think there will be a Mervyn's name on the horizon somewhere there, just how and when and what the magnitude will be I am not sure. That is going to depend on my boys," said Merv Morris.With no stores and no house brands, I don’t know what the new Mervyn’s would offer those of us who lamented its passing. On other hand, no one could fault the Morris brothers for building slowly and prudently, only to the degree that they can bootstrap a viable and self-sustaining business.