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Company that owns Humpy’s and other Anchorage bars files for bankruptcy

  • Author: Annie Zak
  • Updated: February 27, 2018
  • Published February 27, 2018

A company that owns a cluster of bars in downtown Anchorage entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week after several creditors said they were owed millions of dollars.

Hook Line and Sinker Inc., which owns Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse, Flattop Pizza and Pool, and Bootleggers 8 Star Saloon, told a court Thursday it wanted to enter into Chapter 11 after the creditors group filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition — basically a lawsuit — against the company in December. A judge approved the conversion of the case to Chapter 11 on Friday.

Another company, Fish or Cut Bait LLC, is owned by the same people and operates the Williwaw restaurant and venue complex — an ambitious project that opened in 2015 just across F Street from the other bars.

In a bankruptcy filing this month, an attorney for Hook Line and Sinker cited "financial strain" from the Williwaw project as one reason for Humpy's "current difficulties."

The Williwaw complex in downtown Anchorage (Tara Young / ADN)

Dylan Buchholdt, one of the owners of Hook Line and Sinker and Fish or Cut Bait, said Tuesday there should be no change to the bars through the bankruptcy process. Chapter 11 typically allows companies to continue operating while they reorganize businesses.

"It's business as usual to the general public," Buchholdt said. "We pioneered downtown Anchorage with Humpy's 24 years ago. We're going to do everything to make sure Humpy's and its associated bars and restaurants are here for another 24 years."

The company is also looking at the possibility of bringing on new partners and an "injection of capital to help stabilize the companies" heading into the summer, Buchholdt said.

Hook Line and Sinker had gross revenues of about $6.9 million last year, with a net loss of $150,000, according to a declaration from the company's vice president James Maurer, filed in federal bankruptcy court Thursday.

"This loss was exacerbated by declining sales and increased location competition," that document said. "In addition, the debtor is burdened with its guarantees of debt incurred to finance the development of the Williwaw business. Creditors filed an involuntary petition against HLS, which has agreed to proceed with this bankruptcy case in order to restructure its debts."

The company has between 85 and 125 employees, depending on the season and workload, according to Maurer's declaration.

The company owes more than $3.4 million to the 20 creditors who have the largest unsecured claims, according to another filing.

The three creditors listed on the involuntary bankruptcy petition in December — Collin Szymanski, Carl Brady and Arctic Refrigeration & AC Inc. — said Hook Line and Sinker owes them more than $800,000.

In February, Williwaw's landlord, Kenai-based Salamatof Native Association Inc., joined in that filing, saying Hook Line and Sinker owes $1.9 million for four promissory notes the company had guaranteed.

Hook Line and Sinker also has two related restaurant businesses in Hawaii: Humpy's Big Island Alehouse and Laverne's.

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