Former I.O. Metro Pulls Out Last Stop

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jul. 17, 2017 12:00 am   2 min read

It has been a quick fall for the furniture company formerly known as I.O. Metro.

A few short years ago, I.O. Metro was a finalist for the 2014 Arkansas Business of the Year for companies with 76-300 employees. Two years ago, it named John Erdos as its new CEO, and Erdos announced the renamed Erdos At Home was relocating its headquarters to Dallas to better position itself for expansion.

In April this year, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, claiming assets of $3.8 million and debts of $33.8 million. Nearly all of that debt, $31.5 million, is unsecured.

Erdos resigned as CEO, and the company requested a liquidation sale to pay off its secured debts.

The going-out-of-business sale recently kicked off. Erdos At Home had 12 locations in seven states, including three in Arkansas.

The distribution center is in Lowell, where the company was founded by Jay Howard in 2005 before being acquired in 2011 by investors led by Consumer Growth Partners, Banyan Mezzanine Funds and Diamond State Ventures.

Howard left the company in 2012. His replacement, Lou Spagna, announced his retirement shortly before Erdos was named CEO in the spring of 2015.

The company reported $26 million in revenue in 2015, but that dropped in half in 2016. I.O. Metro reported $4.4 million in revenue in the first three and a half months of this year.

The stores in Fayetteville, Rogers and Little Rock were closed for business for about a month while the bankruptcy process was sorted out. They recently reopened under the guidance of a sales management company.

Ari Scott, temporarily running the Fayetteville location on Joyce Boulevard, said most of the employees of the northwest Arkansas stores found other employment during the monthlong shutdown. He said traffic has been good since the liquidation sale started.

“We’re getting rid of all the assets,” Scott said. “The loyal customers are coming in and liking the prices. They have very loyal customers.”

Scott said he expects the stores to be open a few more weeks until all the leftover inventory is sold at deep discounts.

“It’s definitely a good sale,” Scott said.



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