After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June as a result of COVID-19 pandemic-related challenges, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based BarFly Ventures LLC sold its assets — including craft beer bar/restaurant HopCat, Stella’s Lounge, and Grand Rapids Brewing Co. — to Congruent Investment Partners and Main Street Capital for $17.5 million, the company announced on Tuesday. Longtime investors Congruent Investment and Main Street Capital formed a new operating company, Project BarFly LLC upon acquisition of the brands.
“We know the business extremely well from our experiences over the last five years,” Travis Baldwin, Founder of Congruent Investment Partners, said in a statement. “We strongly believe in each restaurant concept and intend to return the company’s focus to providing a unique, best-in-class customer experience. Our goal is to focus efforts around the company’s key markets and ensure HopCat, Stella’s and Grand Rapids Brewing Company remain a thriving part of these communities.”
Before the pandemic, the chain was already struggling, but the lockdown orders earlier in the year pushed it over the edge, and BarFly Ventures filed for bankruptcy filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan on June 4.
Since then, BarFly Ventures focused on reopening their 11 remaining locations (down from 17 in June) and finding new ownership.
Now under new ownership, they intend to get back on the path of expansion outside the Michigan area once the pandemic subsides. But first before that can happen, the company has to get back up to pre-COVID levels of success. Currently, with sales still down due to COVID-19 statewide dining restrictions, the BarFly brands are focusing on off-premise sales and restoring hours of operations in all locations.
“Over the last several months, the home office support team, general managers, and restaurant team members have worked hard to reopen the restaurants and stabilize the company,” Ned Lidvall, Project BarFly, CEO said in a statement. “The company has continued to improve operating results in a difficult environment by focusing on keeping our team and guests safe, improving our off-premise sales and reconstructing our business as the marketplace expands and allows.”
Project BarFly LLC owns and operates four restaurants in the Grand Rapids, Mich. Area, along with five HopCat locations in lower Michigan and two in Lincoln, Neb. and Broad Ripple, Ind.
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