Black Bear Bottling to close in September, eliminating 76 jobs

Company filed for receivership last week

Oak Creek-based Black Bear Bottling Group LLC plans to permanently close on Sept. 15 after filing for receivership last week, according to a notice sent to state officials.

The notice from court-appointed receiver Seth Dizard says the closing will eliminate 76 jobs at the company, more than than the 67 full-time employees listed in court records.

Dizard’s letter says the company will ensure all employees are paid earned wages and benefits at the time of their termination.

Black Bear Bottling listed $10.6 million in liabilities in its receivership filings last week, including $5.2 million in debt with First Bank of Highland Park. The bank has a lien against virtually all of the company’s assets, but has also agreed to a financing deal to keep the business operating while it is in receivership. That deal runs through the end of September unless it is extended in writing.

The company listed $9.4 million in assets, but estimated the fair market value of those assets would be “significantly less” than the book value it reported.

As recently as last year, Black Bear was proposing to expand its facilities at 9770 S. 20th St. The proposal would have added 65,000 square feet to the company’s 48,000-square-foot warehouse and office, with plans for another 39,000 square feet in the future.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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