MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin-based furniture, appliance and electronic retail chain with stores in two other states is going out of business.
American TV & Appliance of Madison, Inc. said Monday that after six decades in business, the company will close its 11 locations, terminating the jobs of nearly 1,000 people following a liquidation sale beginning Feb. 20. The locations include two stores each in Illinois and Iowa and five stores, corporate offices and distribution center in Wisconsin.
American said in a statement that the "economy has been unforgiving" and that the last five years have been difficult for the industry.
"While this is a sad moment it is also a proud moment. It's a moment to be proud of our efforts and to be proud of what we have delivered to the community", said Doug Reuhl, President and CEO of American since 1988. "Words cannot adequately express how grateful we are to our millions of loyal customers, and to the incredible, dedicated family of employees that we have been blessed with over our 60 years of business".
Reuhl says American's 989 employees have been notified and will remain employed through the closing process. American is filing Chapter 128 receivership to protect its creditors.
America said it will honor all gift cards during the store closing sale and will refund customers who do not wish to redeem them. Customers who have a delivery scheduled will receive their merchandise or a refund.
American got its start in 1954 when TV repairman Ferd Mattioli started selling TVs. Len Mattioli took over his brother's TV store in 1970 and during the next couple decades grew the company with his "Crazy TV Lenny" advertising pitch on TV and radio. He used bikes to help sell TV and appliances. He sold his controlling interest to Reuhl over a 10-year ending in 2001.