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Old 07-28-2005
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sailnets demise

Financial troubles sink SailNet
Dot-com has filed for bankruptcy, will liquidate business

SailNet, an online shopping site for boating enthusiasts that expanded
quickly during the dot-com boom, has declared bankruptcy and will be
sold off.
The North Charleston-based company and its affiliates, all operating
under the umbrella of MarineNet Inc., sought protection from creditors
earlier this week in Columbia.
The once-high-flying company, which recently ceased operations, will not
be reorganized. "Everything will be liquidated," said Ivan N.
Nossokoff, the company''s bankruptcy attorney.
SailNet listed nearly $1.4 million in debts and $211,000 in assets,
mostly office equipment, inventory and unpaid invoices.

The decision to close and liquidate the business "was simply a matter of
just not having enough money to continue to operate," Nossokoff said
Wednesday. "It''s just that plain and simple."
The bankruptcy filing shows that revenue at SailNet sank by $1.2 million
last year, or 20 percent, to $4.7 million. Sales to date this year have
totaled slightly more than $2 million.
The company listed its biggest creditor as Larry French, a Florida
resident who sold his St. Petersburg-based sail-making business to
SailNet about five years ago. He is owed about $420,000, according to a
court filing.
Other major creditors include National Bank of South Carolina, which is
owed $350,000, and the owners of SailNet''s former and current corporate
offices in Mount Pleasant and North Charleston, respectively. The
landlords are owed a combined $131,809.

The company is scheduled to meet with creditors Aug. 24 at a hearing in
Charleston.
SailNet sought bankruptcy protection several days after The Post and
Courier reported the online retailer had stopped taking orders and that
its Leeds Avenue offices had been closed for at least several weeks.
Customers who said they have been overcharged or have not received their
orders have been posting complaints about the company on Internet
message boards.
Nossokoff said it''s too early in the bankruptcy process to say how the
court will handle any unfilled orders or overcharges. He also was not
sure what will become of any personal information such as customers''
credit card numbers that might be stored in SailNet''s computer systems.

The liquidation plan spells the end of what had been a promising local
technology business.
SailNet was launched in 1994 in Detroit by Sam and Cheryl Boyle, who
moved the venture to the Charleston area in 1999. The next year, the
couple sold a controlling stake for an undisclosed sum to IDG Ventures,
a San Francisco-based venture capital firm.
Flush with cash, SailNet began to expand through acquisitions in 2000,
when it bought Johnson Sales Inc., a Florida business that manufactured
sails and other boat accessories. That same year it acquired
Boston-based competitor Boatscape.com.

At the same time, SailNet hired a crew of programmers, sales staff and
craftsmen. At its peak, the dot-com employed about 60 workers in the
Lowcountry and another 140 or so in Florida.
The Boyles last week told The Post and Courier that they parted ways
with the company''s majority owners in December. The bankruptcy filing
listed about 30 other businesses and individuals as shareholders, whose
investments in the company are wiped out.
SailNet said in its bankruptcy filing that John Rublaitus, who was named
president and chief executive officer in January, stepped down from
those positions Monday and is now serving as a consultant to the
company. Nossokoff said Rublaitus was traveling Wednesday and
unavailable for comment.




John P. McDermott can be reached at 937-5572 or
jmcdermott@postandcourier.com.
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