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Thomas Russell

Bedroom producer Harden Mfg.'s assets up for sale

Company continues to make domestic line

HALEYVILLE, Ala. — FirstMerit Bank, the secured creditor of promotional case goods resource Harden Mfg., is holding a public sale of the company's assets as part of an effort to raise capital for the struggling manufacturer.

A legal notice published in the Alabama Messenger Feb. 15 announced that the Birmingham, Ala., bank was holding a foreclosure sale at 11 a.m. March 12 of the assets of Harden Mfg. parent company HM Holding Co., and its sister companies HM Operating Inc., Harden Shipping and Harden Transport.

The auction is a process in which the company surrenders its assets to cover its debts to a secured creditor such as FirstMerit. It also allows new investors to provide sufficient working capital for the company to continue operations.

Over the past six months, the company has undertaken a restructuring. It has shed its imported case goods line as well as its upholstery line, neither of which were profitable, a source said.

It exited imported case goods last July and ultimately sold almost all the inventory at a discount. The company got out of upholstery in December because it wasn't able to purchase imported fabric at competitive pricing.

Harden will now focus entirely on its domestic bedroom line, which offers laminate bedrooms that retail from $399 to $599 for four-piece sets.

By focusing on domestic production, Harden will continue what has been a profitable area of the business since it started making bedrooms in 1972, a source said.

The company also has stopped shipping to the West Coast but continues to ship to the Southeast and most parts of the Midwest.

Company President Sam Federico, who joined Harden Mfg. last summer, declined to comment on specific aspects of the proceedings or on the company's strategic initiatives other than to say, "We are cautiously optimistic that this is a very good thing for Harden," and that the company will remain in business. "It just needs to clean up its balance sheet, plain and simple."

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