PITTSBURGH — Perkins restaurants in Hermitage and Grove City remain closed after a federal bankruptcy judge approved sales Thursday to three different owners in deals totaling $720,000.

At a hearing Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Western Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh, 5171 Campbells Land Co. (CLC) received approval to sell 16 of its Perkins franchise locations, including the Meadville area location. The franchised sites sold were in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York.

Approval was needed from bankruptcy court as CLC filed for Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection in July to reorganize its debts. Federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy rules prohibit legal actions by, for or against a corporation unless approved by a federal bankruptcy judge.

Chief Judge Carlota Böhm approved the three separate sales agreements.

The 13 Perkins restaurant franchise locations sold to Phoenix Management Systems LLC of Bloomsburg are in Clarion, east side of Erie, south side of Erie, Edinboro, Indiana and Vernon Township in Pennsylvania; Ashland, Austintown, Boardman, Middleburg Heights, Niles and Warren in Ohio; and Olean N.Y. The Edinboro location has been closed since a fire in May 2015.

Campbells Land Co. sold locations in Hempfield Township, Mercer County and New Castle to Paula Webster, and in Ashtabula, Ohio, to Rebecca Rogers. Under court's order, none of the restaurants can be operated under the Perkins name.

Webster's restaurant in Hempfield Township is called Mama Jane's Eatery.

The remaining 12 Perkins restaurants — including those in Hermitage and Grove City, operated by CLC — remain closed. That also includes Titusville, Bradford, Corry, west side of Erie, Cranberry Township and Warren in Pennsylvania, and Brooklyn, Canfield and Conneaut in Ohio. The Brooklyn location had been closed since a fire in 2017.

CLC could sell the closed restaurants in separate actions, subject to approval by bankruptcy court.

"We're happy with the sale to Phoenix because it will preserve an estimated 600 to 800 jobs" among the 13 restaurants, Ryan Cooney, attorney for CLC, told the Tribune following the sales.

Phoenix Management Systems LLC is a limited liability corporation formed by JDK Management Co. of Bloomsburg to purchase the 13 Perkins locations. According to JDK's website, it operates 40 other Perkins locations, with 26 in central and eastern Pennsylvania, eight in Ohio, four in Florida and two in West Virginia.

Attempts to contact Russell Berner, JDK's vice president of restaurant operations, were unsuccessful.

JDK also owns and operates seven hotels in Pennsylvania and New Jersey; senior living management and consulting services with 34 for-profit and nonprofit nursing facilities, continuing care retirement communities and personal care homes; and has equipment and services businesses for hospitals, skilled nursing centers, personal care homes, and Veterans Administration facilities in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and West Virginia.

CLC bought 28 Perkins restaurants in 2018 in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York for $7.8 million from Unique Ventures Group LLC of Meadville in a bankruptcy court proceeding in U.S. Court in Erie. At the time of that purchase, CLC pledged to invest $12 million in renovating and upgrading the outlets.

CLC found itself embroiled this June in a $2.1 million breach of contract suit with Perkins & Marie Callender's of Memphis, Tenn., Perkins' corporate parent, before CLC filed for bankruptcy in July.

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court order, which went into effect Aug. 6, required some CLC restaurants to remove the Perkins name and all Perkins signs and identification as CLC tried to find a buyer as the Perkins parent company sought other operators for any or all of CLC’s locations.

CNHI News Service

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