Charlie Chanaratsopon has lived the American dream. In 2004, the young, always-dapper entrepreneur launched his colorful retail fashion store, Charming Charlie, with just one shop in Houston — and has since grown his operation to some 261 outlets nationwide, including three in Austin.
His company landed on Forbes "Ones to Watch" list and made Inc. Magazine’s list of "Top 5,000 Fastest Growing Businesses." Chanaratsopon soon became a Houston tastemaker, a society sight-’em, and a local boy made good. Charming Charlie began to shine as brightly as its low-cost baubles.
On July 11, however, Charming Charlie (via Charming Charlie Holdings Inc.) filed for Chapter 11 protection in Delaware with plans for going-out-of-business sales at all 261 stores, according to Bloomberg. The store, specializing in clothing, jewelry, and accessories, has stopped taking orders online.
The liquidation will take approximately two months. The announcement affects more than 3,000 full- and part-time employees across the country, all of whom could lose their jobs.
This is the second time the Houston-based company, known for its vibrant color themes and discount prices, has filed for bankruptcy. In December 2017, the company filed for bankruptcy protection but bounced back after lowering the quality of its inventory and securing loans.
The Houston Business Journal reports that Charming Charlie is seeking court approval for $13 million of debtor-in-possession financing provided by White Oak Commercial Finance LLC and Second Avenue Capital Partners LLC. This move is expected to allow Charming Charlie to "complete the store closing sales in a manner that maximizes recoveries for the debtors’ estates and stakeholders," according to a court declaration by the company's chief financial officer, Alvaro Bellon. (Charming Charlie representatives did not respond to a CultureMap request for comment at press time.)
Now, with a reported debt of $82 million and massive liquidation sales planned, the retailer will reportedly vacate all shops on August 31 — a dark end for the shimmering, trinket-laden mecca.