BAWLS will continue – without Hobarama.
The brand’s investors, who have yet to find a buyer, will infuse cash into the energy soda to stabilize BAWLS while they continue to search for an exit strategy, according to Kevin Coyne, a partner at Canal Mezzanine Partners.
“We’re optimistic that the brand’s not going to die,” Coyne said. “We’re not going to walk away from it.”
Coyne said Michael Moecker & Associates, the firm handling BAWLS’ restructuring, filed papers in a Florida court to turn over the BAWLS brand and its associated intellectual property to its secured investors. Completing that process, Coyne said, will allow investors to give BAWLS the money it needs to bring back key staffers, complete a new production run, and get the drink back into warehouses.
That action follows a rocky few months for BAWLS. In November, the brand’s investors forced out founders Hoby Buppert and Christina Staalstrom. More recently, the investors’ restructuring firm laid off most of Hobarama’s staff, and some distributors’ calls for more product went unanswered. The turbulence has created hurt feelings both within and around the company, Coyne said.
Despite those troubles, Coyne said preliminary conversations with distributors and retailers have revealed an enduring passion for the brand. The brand doesn’t deserve to fade, Coyne said, but it needs a new organizational structure to properly operate.
“We think that by managing the situation,” Coyne said, “we can get back to where we need to be and where the brand needs to be.”
Coyne said BAWLS’ new incarnation will be like running a new business. And, as with any new business, the future is uncertain.
“All options as it relates to down the road are unknown at this point,” Coyne said. “I’m a secured creditor who’s just trying to find my way out of the woods.”
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