12 January 2009

Shane Co. Bankrupt

Denver's most advertised jeweler, Shane Co., has filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. The survival rate of retailers in bankruptcy under the new bankruptcy law adopted in 2005 is horribly low, mostly because the new bankruptcy law makes it hard for retailers to benefit from the economic value of their long term leases.

Shane Co. focuses on securing a high volume per store, rather than having many convenient locations, and generally locates out of the malls and big box locations that are home to most retailers in bankruptcy (for all I know the locations may be either owned by the store or by a related party insider), so the situation isn't hopeless for the company, although it is bleak. Numerous jokes based upon the chain's prolific radio advertising are circulating, but I have chosen not to recycle any of them, as almost all are cringeworthy.

The Denver Business Journal offers more background on the nature and scope of the business, but little insight into the financial fundamentals driving the move.

The largest bankruptcy creditor of the firm appears to be a trade creditor, and some of the first day motions in the case appear to relate to credit card payments, so the immediate cause of the bankruptcy may be a collapse of short term credit similar to that experienced by Frontier Airlines before its bankruptcy. On the retail side it is fair to speculate that Shane Co., which does not sell significant volumes of semi-precious gemstones and offers few discounts on its merchandise, may have had trouble gaining enough at the low end of the jewelry market to make up for falling sales at the high end of the market.

Customer deposits and lay aways receive significant protection in bankruptcy as priority creditors under Section 507 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (United States Code Title 11), subject to a dollar cap of $2,225 (after the most recent triannual inflation adjustment under Section 104 of the Bankruptcy Code made in 2007), that trumps even amounts due for back taxes. So, only customers with the largest deposits are likely to lose their deposits in the end, even if Shane Co. fails to reorganize and general creditors received nothing, although access to those deposits and layaways could conceivably be delayed. If Shane Co. does reorganize (i.e. stay in business after its debts are adjusted in bankruptcy), deposits and layaways are almost certain to be honored in full.

The case is Shane Co., 09-10367, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Colorado (Denver), and original documents can be accessed using the federal court's PACER system.

Full Disclosure: I've purchased jewelry there and a family member once worked for the company on a temporary two day project that produced a small hourly wage and a t-shirt.


Anonymous said...


If you would like the dirty details on the shane co. and how they TRULY operate, let me know. I started from the ground up with them and left as an executive with this company. I guarantee you will find Tom's business practices "newsworthy".


Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

I'll save the investigative reporting for someone else. The staight story is enough for now.

In additional information, about 4,600 of 6,000 creditors are customer deposits, and almost but one of the top twenty creditors (more than $750,000 in a $100 million plus bankruptcy, are suppliers who have not been paid.

This means that the privately held company has almost no financing debt, just trade credit.

Anonymous said...

I purchased a diamond ring about 2 weeks ago and I am now told that Shane Co. would not stand behind its 60 day money back guarantee for any purchases prior to Jan 12th. I was not planning on returning this ring, but I was happy with the guarantee that I could. They claim that they are going business as usual while they restructure - but why can't they stand behind their guarantee?!!

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Shane Co. claims that software company SAP, which took three years and $36 million dollars to do a project bid at one year and $10 million dollars, and screwed up Shane Co.'s inventory management causing it to overorder inventory bears much of the blame for the collapse (on top of sales down 32% in the holiday season).

Anonymous said...

I found it amusing that Shane Co advertises that they are direct diamond importers and that they cut out the middleman. Take a look at their creditors in bankruptcy and decide if their advertising is truthful.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I believe Shane Co. is one of the best jewelry companies out there. The apparent truth of the situation is that their bank called their loan, and they needed a cushion to obtain new financing. Although this is clearly a sign of a weak economy and poor sales, this situation also speaks to the state of the credit market. In some ways, this is as much a banking problem as it is a jewelry industry problem. To the previous poster: their advertisements are truthful... Even though they buy direct, they still have to buy from a company. It's not like Tom Shane travels with a shovel and mines the stones himself. and some of those unsecured creditors are only the manufacturers of the jewelry-- likely using the stones that Shane Co. buys. That's a common practice in the industry.
If you read all of the filings, take a look at who the actual top unsecured creditor is, and you'll see where the company stands.

Anonymous said...

To the previous poster, you sound like a Shane co insider. Shane is "one of the best jewelery companies"? please...

Anonymous said...


Can you clarify this statement: "because the new bankruptcy law makes it hard for retailers to benefit from the economic value of their long term leases."

I just dont understand how that applies here. If a company that has leases of stores files bankruptcy, they will continue to pay rent on the leases they want to keep, and they terminate those that aren't productive. The future value of those lease seems irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

As a former employee that worked directly with inventory counts over the SAP switch, they were well aware of what they had and were very aware they had too much O/H merch. I was continuously informed about how we had way too much merchandise backstocked before the SAP change. My personal feeling is that they purposely tried to make it look as though inventory was "lost" or became unorganized over this switch. All of a sudden our counts would show stuff that never had appeared in our previous inventory system...it was weird, hard to explain.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

"Can you clarify this statement: "because the new bankruptcy law makes it hard for retailers to benefit from the economic value of their long term leases."

I just dont understand how that applies here. If a company that has leases of stores files bankruptcy, they will continue to pay rent on the leases they want to keep, and they terminate those that aren't productive. The future value of those lease seems irrelevant."

In a typical retail company, working capital is obtained with a loan guaranteed by collateral consisting of all of the inventory and accounts receivable of the Company. Also, typically, the premises upon which the business is conducted are leased, often at below market rates.

One of the main parts of a retail firms going concern value is the difference between its current lease rates and current market lease rates.

Historically, one of the main ways that retailers survive bankruptcy is by subleasing their premises at a rate more than they are paying now, and using the difference to pay creditors. But, arranging the necessary deals takes time.

Historically, extensions of time on the decision to terminate or affirm leases were routinely granted, which gave firms an ability to analyze that issue and put deals together to realize the value of below market lease rates. Now, these extensions of time are strictly limited by statute and this time limit is rarely allows sufficient time to secure new tenants. And, in the absence of an ability to realize the economic value of the leases, retail bankruptcies post 2005 have produced liquidations at a much greater rate than was previously the case.

I have cited research and Congressional testimony to this effect (from scholars other than myself) in previous posts at this blog, which is why I didn't explore the subject at length in this post.

The net effect of all of this is that commercial landlords end up doing better than they would have had their contracts been honored, while unsecured, non-priority creditors of retailers (such as bondholders and trade creditors) do much worse.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

A link to a prior post at this blog on retail bankruptcy difficulties under the new law can be found here.

Anonymous said...

SAP definitely messed things up. I worked in the merchandising/shipping department at the corporate office. Before SAP was rolled out, things worked quickly and smoothly. After that, it was a nightmare. Nothing worked, they had several SAP specialists on hand at all times who did nothing but fix problems, and whenever they managed to solve one issue, it caused two more to arise. It was common to have to process the same order several times because of one small thing. Between the cost of installing SAP and the problems it caused afterward, it's no wonder Shane Co. is having problems. They've had three rounds of layoffs since late 2007. I got cut a few days before Christmas that year.

Anonymous said...

The reason Shane Co. can't honor the 60-day return on purchases prior to Jan. 12 is that the court won't allow them to. Do you honestly think the company would deliberately shaft so many of its customers? It's standard procedure in these kinds of proceedings. This is all on the public record. I wish people would take time to get the facts.

Anonymous said...

I too was employed by this company and was completely brain washed by them. What a nightmare, I was employed during the SAP transition which true... yes, was a mess however that was a choice Tom Shane made to be a big dog and show off, because everything was working fine. Just as he made the decsion to invest millions in to the San Diego location which only stayed open 8 months! I am a former employee along with many others who witnessed first hand the bad business practices as well as overall bad treatment of employees on a daily basis, this was and still is the culture. When you go in to buy and see the bubbly sales associate in front of you, I can guarentee the minute they leave to select your diamond they are treated like dirt, and god forbid you do not buy ... that maybe the last time you see them if the sales person happenes to have a bad month. The working conditions at this company are atrocious and they only use fear tatics, its horrible. Overall I have never worked with such committed people in my life, just as I too work day and night sorting through SAP inventory problems, because I cared, because I believed the lies. I left because I saw first hand consignment goods being deliverd to the store... wait I thought we buy direct ? Why are we lying to people? hmmmmmm this seems wrong. Working for the Shane Company means you sell your soul. This may seem dramatic, however it is true. By the way, to the comment posted above, one of the biggest debtors owed named in the bankruptcy is a Diamond buying house located in New York. hmmmm, if they buy with cash, how come soooo many people are owed money? No shovel needed just a good line.

Anonymous said...

I was just informed tonight that they wouldnt refund me on a loose diamond stone I purchased for 10k less than 5 weeks ago!! Talk about being livid! In their bankruptcy petition they state: "The success and viability of the Debtor’s business, and ultimately the Debtor’s ability to successfully reorganize, are totally dependent upon the patronage and loyalty of its customers. In this regard, the Debtor’s Customer Satisfaction Programs are critical, and any
delay in honoring the Debtor’s obligations thereunder will severely and irreparably impair
customer relations. Any failure to honor prepetition Customer Obligations or honor the
prepetition Customer Claims, for even a brief time, may well both drive away valuable customers, and irreparably destroy the Debtor’s reputation with its existing and potential future customers, thereby severely harming the Debtor’s efforts to reorganize." "18. Estimating the amount of obligations that may arise through the Debtor’s various warranties, guarantees, and upgrade programs is impracticable. However, the ability to continue to provide these programs is vital to the Debtor’s ongoing relationship with its customers. The Debtor believes that the increase in customer loyalty generated by retaining
these programs far outweighs their costs.
19. Accordingly, the Debtor seeks authorization, but not direction, to continue to honor Customer Obligations under the warranties, guarantees, and upgrade policies in the ordinary course of business, including obligations arising prior to the Petition Date; provided, however, that the Debtor does not, at this time, seek authorization to issue cash refunds on account of pre-petition purchases made within 60 days prior to the Petition Date."

I already have a letter ready to be fired away tomorrow a.m. to the big guy.

Perhaps a class-action suit is necessary? Please contact me if interested or have comments.

Anonymous said...

The lie continues. They still talk about direct diamond prices.

Anonymous said...

I went to Shan Company today, aggravated and disappointed with the ring my husband bought me last month. In less than a month, the ring had to be re-plated 4, yes FOUR times, and looked old and dirty. I was told that I would not be given a refund, and that was it. Nothing more they could do. I apologize now if this seems flat and boring, but I am extremely upset and out of energy after the tyrade I put on..
I called a lawyer, they cried class action lawsuit, all day.. I am definitely interested in filing one. Please let me know if anyone else is as well. gtment@sbcglobal.net

*MADDER THAN HELL* in Kansas City.

Anonymous said...

Andrew , Please as you are in USA , Take a fly to San Francisco to IRS head quarter , ask t look at the file of :Shaneco" than u will understand that NO WAY this corportae will come back from the Abyss , (bank fraud , laundry money , TAX evasion .....)

Anonymous said...

ALL Bullshit about SAP , ERP SAP was not able to be implemented because the mind behind( employee of Shaneco & managing untill the CEO) understand nothing in the new way of doing business in the jewelry business these days . certainly NOT Mr Tom Shane who 1/2 of his time is oversea with his girls friends and not his children that are just being graduated and have NO knowledge in anything in processing jewelry and ordering componant .... they understand nothing in sub contracting and how to bridge between the retail stores manager and their need , this company is up to dated not technologically but Mentally , here is the difference , they can play the BIG shot and Buy the most expencive systhem they do not have the brain on how to do the application to the new way of trading in the business and be an honnest retailer jeweler.... sad to ear but this is the truth .... many of their executive are too old to make the swift and their HR departement have NO experience to hire to mentally capable and the one that understand the business.. they were buying not from the mining this is normal but are buying from the 3rd or 4th hands middle man , ONLY to get credit , because from 3 years ago when Mr Tom Shane took over as CEO this compnay , this company shrink to the ABYSS of the Ocean ..... So from the pyramid bottom to Top you have 3/4 of incapable employee that understand 0 in the business,,, working there was the best experience I ever had , Now to be succeeding you just apply the opposite about what the corporate was doing and you will have the most successfull company ... this is for the banker ( Sun Trust and Chrystal) :)

Anonymous said...

I bought an engagement ring right before Christmas for my girlfriend. The ring had to be resized the first week of Jan., a few days later a diamond fell out of the ring. We took it back so they could fix it. They took care of us very quickly, but the very next day another stone fell out. They told us that they would have to order us a new ring and it would take 3 months to get it in (Mar. 28th). At this time we are just frustrated with the problems that we have went through and want to get a refund, so we can go somewhere else. I understand that they are no longer giving refunds for purchases that old, but I was wondering if there would be anything we could do since they are trying to make us wait three months to get what we paid for. Right now my fiancee' is wearing a ring with a diamond missing and the size is still not correct and she has to wear a spacer everyday. If anybody has any suggestions please email me at Donnie99b@yahoo.com

Thank you

Anonymous said...

For your girl friend, is is a round stone or a square ? what kind of setting it is ? if it is not a invisible setting , ANY JEWELER CAN REPAIR IT WITHOUT TO ORDER A NEW ONE , HMMMMMMM, It seems that the company you went too , Have No JEWELER IN HOUSE? You must have small Jeweler in your state , just bring the ring to Them , they generally more professional that the one who are working for retailer chain.
Go to the Yellow pages you'll find one

Anonymous said...

you are correct , the plan is a 3 years planning already (this is from a corporate insider) they Go Bangkrupcy just in time , they wanted to go Bangkrupcy 1 year ago but could not do it , TIME WAS NOT RIGHT.(Tom lawyers advise)
After the financial crash, HERE CAME "the Angel of Luck" for TOM Shane AND THE Shane company TO FILL CHAPTER 11.
now they are able and will stop leasing all the unprofitable locations breaking the contract with the landlord .
All inventory will than be shipped back to CORPORATE OFFICE , They will remain with NOT MORE THAN THE BEST 8 LOCATIONS , AND BECOME A SMALL COMPANY WITH A LARGE ammount of loose stones STOCK .
Than they will return for their colateral payement the loose stones for the price they bought 1year Ago when price were crazy UP , TODAY PRICE FOR SAME GOODS are 40% less expencive than the old 1 year ago price on Diamond , and their creditor will have to swallow the BIG loss .

SHANE CO than will melt the gold and get the profit ,HIGH PROFIT on the metal because gold price are on the rise , AND THAN THEY ARE BACK IN BUSINESS. with a lot of cash $ in their account.

I WONDER HOW MANY Corporate people will remain ..... less than 50 for sure BUT THE COMPANY WILL BE THAN BE PROFITABLE ......
I wonder as well why they keep a location in THAILAND "SHANECO (Thailand)"..... were more than 3M $ was invested in a leasing BUSINESS BUILDING place oversea with NO Workers ???? Hmmmmm this is again shows the caracter of mental ill crazyness of the co-founder of the company TOM SHANE with His mania and unresonable investment
SAME FOR THE SAP system when USA ORACLE sytem platform IS 1/3 cheaper than the EU German one .

But NO more private plane to fly to Bangkok to Buy ruby and sapphire and to party in GOGO BAR .

ANYWAY Goods coming from Bangkok are 30%-40% too expencive coming from a 3rd hand broker office "BANGRAK GEMS" Where commission are kept there for the private account of the CEO .... ASK all the buyers that Mr Tom CHOICE to help him , he trow them All because they were after 1 weeek understanding what is going on in this office , SO out ... and vey capable people were in this position noone make it more that 1 month??? hmmmmmmmmm
same goods could be bought for the same prices at New Yorks wholesalers... proof in the invoices .....

To coming back to SHANECO (Thailand)co;ltd... this is a place OUT of the USA that they should ethically shut down 1st to show to their corporate people , their bankers , the court and All legal institution that their first choice are their AMERICAN employees , it will show GOOD WILL for 1st time coming from TOM SHANE , this is a move that Tom Shane has to show to his corporate people who were and still are loyal to him for so many years.





Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

TO : Andrew Oh-Willeke

YOU SHOULD INVESTIGATE MORE ABOUT Mr Tom Shane That name became Mr Tom Shame FOR THE JEWELRY and Diamond Business

Anonymous said...

Well, the saga continues . . . after continually advertising that no locations would be closed after filing chapter 11, he turned around and closed locations in Seattle and Atlanta!
Tom is TRULY a man of his word, you just have to know what his words mean. . . if he says one thing, just believe the opposite.

More locations will close, I guarantee you that. And just like all of those before, no warning to loyal customers and employee's. No severance, nothing. Just throw them onto the streets to keep as much money in Tom's pockets. and of course the ex-wives and kids.

The scewing continues, thanks Tom!

Anonymous said...

AH !!!!!now someone will believe me ... the plan is a 3 years planning with hard copy blue print in my hands from the law office of Tom Shame that are taking care about the filling for bangkrupcy.

Tom Shame wants to downgrade the company to a maximum of 8 stores that's it ; and close ALL the other stores .... and be a small familly company.

he is right by his point of vue because he can not handle , he is a bad manager with bad habit ( drinking-hookers.....) he treat his staff badly he has no good friend , has NO friend at all beside his friend in the laundery shema in Bangkok : MICHEL LOCOW where he buys goods 4 x time more expencive than the market to get money black in Thailand ... and by swift to the private account of his girl friend BIG MONEY AS BIG THAT SHE IS...

Corporate people wake up within 6months he will need exactly 20workers not more .....


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Colored Stones
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Shane Co. closes three stores
April 01, 2009

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Denver--Bankrupt Colorado jewelry chain Shane Co. closed at least three of its underperforming locations on Feb. 15, the company has confirmed to National Jeweler.

These locations include the retail jeweler's Orlando, Fla., Morrow, Ga., and Tukwila, Wash., stores.

Shane Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, with the company citing disappointing holiday sales and a lack of liquidity.

At that time, the company issued a statement that it planned to continue to do business without interruption as management worked on a plan to pull the chain out of bankruptcy.

The family-owned Shane Co., which also has been known throughout the years as Western Stone and Metal Corp. and Midwestern Stone and Metal Corp., once operated 25 stores in 17 states, according to National Jeweler's 2008 State of the Majors report.

As of Wednesday, however, the Shane Co. Web site listed only a total of 20 store locations. The fate of two of the five stores remains unclear.
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Dominick R said...

No respect among his peers in the biz. That's all I've got to say.

Anonymous said...

the truth
April 03, 2009the plan was 3 year plannification to take money out of the companyy trough company registrated inw "belize" "bvi" "hong kong" and "Thailand" the last one both companies account and private accouunt of TOM "Girl friend" in Thailand were used to Tax evasion laundry money aned evacuate stock to be rfine of ols jewelry trough a 3rd Thai account that way TOM SHANE will have the reason to go to C11 , now he has the acsh in safe heaven countries and private banks account with his associate in Bangkok include his major supplier of colored stones in Bangkok that owned as well 2 HKG companies than stones are send from Bangkok at low prices and invoices changed within "brinks" office and SHANE CO have to pay the high prices , thatw ay he can get his shares ourside USA , SAME SCHEMA WITH DIAMOND DEALER . than he closing stores , sending the jewelry to be refined and than give false information on 1st when he send he send low weight and low kt for gold , let me explain , when he has 18k he declares as 14k , 14k as 9k , 22k as 18k so when it is refined he has between 30z% to 50% of 100% 99.9 gold that he can keep in Thailand , than he has the diamond and stones , the good one he keep in Thailand , exchange with local dealers with low quality and return it to USA , than low value come back he can show loss and profit is in Thailand under safe heaven BOI and bonded warehouse . This is how he rip off his own company to go maybe to liquidation and go to retire with his girl friend that may be his wife today ... he rip off his own blood daughters and son and his ex wife partener that build the business and he destryed it for his own personal good . the truth will take time to come out but this is the legal way he will colse the company , pay his little debt and .... ALL VENDORS that were loal and believ in him.
dear richard
April 03, 2009Everyone takes this so personally. Do you really think Shane planned to go backrupt to screw everyone out of their money or merchandise? This is just an example of another company struggling to survive in today's economy. Everybody gets hurt when a company files for Chapter 11, not just Richard Wilson!
Dear Richard
April 02, 2009Maybe you should be a bit more cautious about who you give credit to. You got burned, too bad for you... So somehow a few hundred people out of work would make you feel vindicated? I bet you rejoiced when thousands at Circuit City lost their jobs... But those vendors got paid, sleep well Richard Wilson.
April 02, 2009Wilson...great comment, but wait till our president repeals LIFO...we will all need jobs!
Richard Wilson, Provo, UT
April 02, 2009Chapter 11 is a legal license to steal from all of us. Those legal obligations so easily excused have to be eaten by somebody. Does the person who thinks Shane Co. should stay in business because they employ so many agree on taking those jobs from someone else?? Sounds like a Democrat's logic to me.
April 02, 2009its not about vomit, its not about morals...its about what the laweyers can structure to look like the law.
You Make Me Vomit
April 02, 2009Listen to yourself, You sit here ranting about how he should liquidate. Do you understand how many people Shane Co. employs? Do you have no compassion? Hopefully, you become jobless in this market... Then maybe you will see things different.
Shane makes me Vomit
April 02, 2009Tom Shane is the Bernie Madehoff of Jewelery...Goes chapter 11 and does his own DIP financing...Wonder were Mr.Smooth got the money, do you think it came from the vendors?This guy needs the attorney general up his ****, and needs to be forced to liquidate his business and personal and pay his obligations.
April 01, 2009How do these stores have any morals left? I say customers should stop buying, make them liquidate and pay their obligations...
April 01, 2009All debter prisons should be reopened and all laweyers killed!!!!
April 01, 2009Shane Jewelers and others like them could care less about their obligations. If they did they would not be in the mess their in. But to rant at them for stiffing you is laughable. I am sure that you knew they where in trouble BEFORE they placed orders. A good sales person knows when to say NO!!
April 01, 2009Good!...5 down...20 to go! Just another failed business model that prays on the vendors (was ordering all they could the week they went into C-11!) and then uses the courts to legally steal their inventory and vacate their obligations. All we get out of this is...pay higher prices from our vendors, and then we get to compete with the 'reorged' business that didn't have to pay for their goods! Thishastostop! Chapter 7!...Liquidate! (and pay your obligations!)

Anonymous said...

1man - 10,000
April 04, 2009this is high classify : SHANE CO is under investigation : home land and security agency , ice , irs , fbi ,dsi , royal thai police any one who do business with them be carrefull , they are going after them with strong evidence : of : bank fraud , laundry money , Ponzi shhema ,Tax evasion , Customs law enforcement breakage .....link to mafia.... his partner in colored stone business and dimaond business will be investigated as well specially in Thailand Bangkok , Bangrak Gems

Anonymous said...

15. A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul (George Bernard Shaw)

Anonymous said...

4c or C4 ? all will come to light anyway

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Wow, I was one of the first casualties of The Shane Co when they lcosed our store In CA about three years back. I guess that was a blessing in disguise!!! I am embarassed to say I worked for a company that would pull something like this. I really feel for the other employees who remained loyal to what they thought was a great company. Thanks Tom for closing my store before this BS came out. I was an honest hardworking employee who believed I was giving customers the best value and honest business!!

Anonymous said...

I have to compete against these buffoons. Our clients come in with horror stories of how they were treated at Shane. We carry certed stones and give the very best price we can. I know people who have had the unfortunate experience of working there. They are very bad to their employees. The store in Indianapolis has a block mold problem and have had this problem for a very long time. There were three instances of pregnant employees that worked there that miscarried. They still have not taken care of the mold issue. I would Sue....oops... can't sue someone in bankruptcy.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

A plan of reorganization was approved this fall.