Blumenthal Print Works shuts doors

Ticking and upholstery supplier Blumenthal Print Works Inc., based in New Orleans, has closed after 85 years in business.

Blumenthal was forced to cease operations on Nov. 23 after a federal bankruptcy judge ordered the liquidation of its assets. The move ended a court proceeding that began in October 2008 when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At that time, Blumenthal intended to reorganize and seek new investors.

According to the filing, Harry Blumenthal, president and chief executive officer, had loaned between $10 million and $13 million of his own money to the company. That action drew the ire of Blumenthal’s largest creditor, Whitney National Bank of New Orleans, which said Harry Blumenthal owed the bank about $20 million and should have made payments to Whitney, not his company.

Early in November 2009, the bank cited Blumenthal Print Works’ “continuing enormous losses” in asking the judge to immediately liquidate the company and give the assets to Whitney. The court granted the request, giving Whitney title to Blumenthal’s real estate in South Carolina and other assets, including $690,000 deposited in an escrow account.

Blumenthal, whose grandfather founded the company, told the New Orleans Times–Picayune that the company had trouble adjusting to changing market conditions, including the rise of Chinese imports; the mattress industry’s switch to single–sided mattresses, which cut ticking sales in half; and interest in knits, which slashed demand for damasks.

The 28 workers in the company’s New Orleans headquarters and about 150 workers at its manufacturing plant in Marion, S.C., were laid off.

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