Friday, January 9, 2009

On Front Lines of Debt Crisis, Luggage Maker Fights for Life

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- When Chuck Bidwell and Jennifer Guarino took over J.W. Hulme Co. a few years ago, their plan was to transform the tiny maker of duck-hunting gear and fishing-rod bags into a luxury luggage company.

They applied the modern American business playbook: Borrow heavily to grow fast. The strategy worked -- until the credit crisis threw out those rules.

Now the two business partners are struggling to pull their company, and their lives, out of a spiral. The pain is rippling through a broad circle of investors, employees, suppliers and family members.

Mr. Bidwell, a 63-year-old serial entrepreneur and collector of vintage Buicks, is selling his beloved cars, is about to lose his house and is getting divorced from his wife of less than two years, partly due to their financial nightmare. Ms. Guarino has drained her savings, had her credit cards shut off, and is fielding phone calls "weekly," she says, from a frustrated relative who loaned her money.

No comments:


Watch videos at Vodpod and more of my videos

Search This Blog

Blog Archive Video What's News US

NYT > Business

CNBC Top News and Analysis