Speculation swirls around The Scooter Store

Friday, March 15, 2013

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – One thing is certain: The future is uncertain for one of the largest providers of scooters and power wheelchairs. 

Soon after The Scooter Store’s announcement on March 8 that it would be furloughing the majority of its employees, industry sources began speculating on what the future holds for the company. The furlough could mean one of any number of things, they say.

“If they’re looking to file for bankruptcy, this may be a precursor,” said Don Davis, president of Duckridge Advisors. “It might also be them trying to avoid it.”

In an email, CEO Marty Landon told employees that The Scooter Store has been experiencing major business challenges and needs to streamline operations to continue providing service.

With the Scooter Store’s recent difficulties making it a “troubled investment” for its senior secured lender Sun Capital Partners, the chances of other outside investment are slim, sources say.

“I wouldn’t think someone else would step in and lend them a bunch of money,” said Bob Leonard, an analyst with The Braff Group. “If they can’t scrape up together enough money between what they have and what Sun Capital is willing to provide, they could be gone.”

The Scooter Store doesn’t seem to be taking on any new business. Callers to its toll-free number get the following message: “We are currently experiencing higher than normal call volumes. We apologize for this inconvenience and ask that you call back at a later time.”

Calls and emails to officials at The Scooter Store were not returned by press time.

Sun Capital Partners referred calls to AlixParners, a Michigan-based consulting firm that, according to its website, “specializes in improving corporate financial and operational performance, executing corporate turnarounds and providing litigation consulting and forensic accounting services.” AlixPartners was unable to make a statement by press time.

As for the Feb. 20 raid by the FBI and other federal and state agencies: There’s “nothing new to report,” FBI Spokesman Eric Vasys told HME News.