East Bronx officials and community leaders are keeping a wary eye on Mandee.
The future of the Throggs Neck clothing retailer appears to be up in the air as its parent company, Big M, recently re-filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Jeff Resnick, who owns the property at 3860 E. Tremont Ave., said in an e-mail that the company cited the damage and disruption in commerce caused by Superstorm Sandy as its reason for re-filing. Mandee has continued operations for the time being, but Resnick indicated they may be looking to downsize the store, with plans for the location once again “up in the air.”
“They have told me that their current business plan calls for a much smaller store, so I believe they would like to operate in half the space,” stated Resnick. “We are currently trying to find someone who might want to use half the space, or 7,500 square feet. However at this moment uncertainty abounds and they might give up this location.”
The entire property, at 15,000 square feet, is now being listed by Welco Realty as being for available for lease.
Mandee, which has been at the location for about 28 years, recently completed renovations to the facade and parking lot, said Resnick. “The renovations have been completed in total…the face of the store looks wonderful and the parking lot is repaired,” he said.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca said he was concerned that having any vacant store of its size would be an eyesore. “Mandee has been here for years, and it was only several months ago that they made a commitment to stay.”
In late 2011, it appeared that the location might close as other Mandee stores were shuttered, but a spokeswoman for Big M said in June 2012 that they planned to stay at that location and renovate the building.
Whatever the fate of Mandee, bankruptcy re-organization is often a good thing for many companies, said Steven Kaufman, president of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association.
“It is not necessarily a bad thing, because it will allow them to shed their debts and come out clean, and lean and meaner,” he said. “We don’t know what the final play will be.”
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393