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WILSONVILLE, OR-Joe’s Sports & Outdoor filed for protections from creditors under Ch. 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code Wednesday while it looks for a solution, which could include a buyer or a new partner or modified credit lines in the coming weeks. The locally based 30-store Northwest chain, launched in 1952 as G.I Joe’s, an army surplus store, was acquired by San Francisco-based Gryphon Investors in 2007. Wells Fargo Retail Finance provided the financing for the transaction.

Joe’s recently obtained $50 million in debtor-in-possession financing that will help it stay afloat while it awaits offers. Joe’s spokesman John Mangan tells GlobeSt.com that Gryphon had wanted to provide additional financing to Joe’s in 2009 but could not reach agreements with lenders.

Mangan tells GlobeSt.com the company will keep all its stores operational, has no immediate plans for layoffs and will cover its 1,600 employees’ salaries and benefits while “it works on the reorganization process.” Kurt Kuall, Gryphon’s partner and head of its consumer products/specialty retail group could not be reached Thursday for comment.

Joe’s options are similar to what the company said it was considering in mid-February to strengthen its financial position but nothing has panned out yet, prompting the Ch. 11 filing. Joe’s listed both assets and debts ranging from $100 million to $500 million in its bankruptcy filing. The company owes its 30 largest unsecured creditors a total of $12.8 million, including $1.2 million to Baja Inc.

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