WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A steady stream of customers could be seen going in and out of the Waterford Bob’s Stores and a lot of those shoppers are surprised the parent company has filed for Chapter 11.
“I’m in shock,” said Cordora Edwards of Waterford.
By most accounts the Bob’s store is busy but bankruptcy court filings in Delaware show its parent company Eastern Outfitters may not be doing as well. It entered three Chapter 11 filings for Bob’s Stores, Eastern Mountain Sports, and for the Gift Cards related to those stores.
“Very disappointed,” said Vicki Simon of Waterford. “We shop at Bob’s all the time.”
The headquarters for Bob’s Stores is in Meriden. Some say online shopping has had an affect on brick and mortar stores like Bob’s and EMS which also has a location in Waterford.
“People order on line instead of coming here and when that happens you lose jobs,” said Michael Barrett of Mystic.
Barrett, who just bought his Patriots championship gear at Bob’s, prefers to shop in person.
“You can come in and look at it and feel it and know if it’s really good product,” said Barrett.
“Sometimes those stores right after bankruptcy protection then the next step is to start laying off and closing stores,” said Edwards.
The stores’ prior parent company Vestis Retail Group also filed for Chapter 11 in April and both Bob’s Stores and EMS which are anchors in their Waterford plazas survived that restructuring.
“It’ll be missed if they close,” said Vicki Simon. “I hope they don’t.”
“You know I’m just surprised because I really like this,” said Barrett. “I hope that they can pull through.”
Both Bob’s Stores and EMS have websites where they sell their items so they are competing with the online shopping. No word how this Chapter 11 filing will affect that or the local stores.