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Hacketts closing store in Potsdam

JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS
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POTSDAM — The Hacketts store in Potsdam will shut its doors within a matter of days because of a lack of profitability, a move that Herbert L. Becker, vice president of Seaway Valley Capital Corp., said he hopes will channel more business into the company's Ogdensburg operations.


Mr. Becker called retail sales at the Potsdam store "pathetic" Wednesday, and said a decision was made to close the retail space to bolster business at the company's Ogdensburg Hacketts.


He said the closure process is under way and the Potsdam store could be vacated within a week.


Company officials said 16 full- and part-time workers are employed at the Potsdam store.


Going hand in hand with closing the Potsdam store will be the launch of a new Liquidation Center at the former Power Place building on State Street in Ogdensburg, Mr. Becker said. The center will sell a wide variety of merchandise, including surplus Hacketts inventory and products purchased exclusively for the new business.


"As we begin the rebuilding process, management feels that it is more prudent to invest our resources in locations not competing with our flagship Ogdensburg location, and, of course, the new Hacketts Liquidation Center," Mr. Becker said. "Considering the Potsdam location had the fewest number of months left on its lease and does compete with other St. Lawrence County Hacketts locations, the decision was made to consolidate it with the other stores."


The Hacketts store chain is owned by Seaway Valley Capital Corp., a group that has been struggling with financial problems for months. Potsdam will join a list of closed Hacketts retail outlets that includes Watertown, Pulaski and Canton.


Stores remain open in Ogdensburg, Massena, Gouverneur, Sackets Harbor and Tupper Lake.


The company's financial woes began early this year when Wells Fargo Bank called in a $5 million line of credit.


Hacketts officials announced recently that the Wells Fargo debt has been paid, but the company still faces millions in lawsuits filed by a number of businesses including the True Value Co., Chicago, Ill.; Nike USA Inc., Beaverton, Ore.; Gouverneur Center Development LLC, Utica; GBR Market Street LLC and Potsdam Holdings LP; J.E. Patterson Electric, Ogdensburg, and Johnson Newspaper Corp., Watertown.


The company also faces lawsuits seeking damages by former Hacketts owners Julieanne Hackett Cliff, Patrick E. Hackett Jr. and Norman V. Garrelts, Hacketts' former president. The three allege Seaway Valley Capital President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas W. Scozzafava still owes them money from the $6 million purchase of the chain in 2007.

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