Montana News

Sep 20, 2012 2:09 PM by Mike Powers (Missoula)

Vann's announces layoffs, plans to close stores

MISSOULA - The plug is being pulled on Vann's, the Missoula-based appliance and electronics store, and barring a last minute buyer, all five outlets will close their doors.

Vann's informed the bankruptcy court on Wednesday that it intends to remain in Chapter 11, but will focus on an orderly liquidation.

Vann's has struggled financially in recent years, and when a creditor recently pulled its backing, Vann's had few options left.

The company has 150 employees at its five stores in Kalispell, Missoula, Hamilton, Billings, and Bozeman, as well as at its warehouse in Lolo.

The employees were told they'll be laid off by November 18.

Travis McClean, an employee in Missoula, said, "I'm not sure if the reality has set in yet, but there's a lot of internal panic as far as to what the future might hold. But at the same time, we have to look forward [and] play the 'what if' game."

Vann's CEO Jerry McConnell said in a news release that the company just can't make it work in this economy.

He added that Vann's has great employees and that he's sorry they have to suffer for the company's losses.

Vann's was founded in Missoula in 1961.

The Vann's store in Helena was closed several months ago.