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A Few Answers from Service Point’s New Owners
By Ed Avis
Service Point USA closed its doors November 8, even though the business apparently was profitable (read details of the situation by clicking here). On November 28, The Color Company, based in London, announced that it had acquired the assets of Service Point USA (read the press release here).
Below are some questions about the acquisition and answers from Greig Fairclough, business director of The Color Company, and Robert Feld, assistant to Elden Roane, the owner of The Color Company. Fairclough and Feld are currently in the United States working on details of the acquisition and answered these questions via telephone.
Will Service Point USA be restarted?
Yes. “We’re looking to resume operations where ever we can,” Fairclough said.
However, Feld said it has not yet been decided whether the company will keep its old name or be changed to The Color Company.
When will business resume?
“We’re hoping to resume business fairly quickly, as quickly as possible,” Feld said, though he said he could not be more specific.
One important issue is office space, Feld said. The Color Company is trying to re-establish leases in existing locations where possible, or find new locations if needed.
What will happen to the on-site services customers who switched to new providers when SP USA shut down?
Feld said The Color Company believes the original contracts between SP USA and those customers are still valid and enforceable. “We believe we are within our rights to enforce those agreements,” he said.
However, Fairclough made a point of emphasizing that The Color Company realizes that the business needs to be rebuilt. “We’re not an arrogant kind of business,” he said. “We’re not Kevin Costner building the Field of Dreams and saying, ‘Look at us! We just bought Service Point USA and everyone should come back!’
“Rather, it’s a question of us building back into the business the key ethos of the business, by adding value to print, and teaching the staff to be engaging,” he said.
Will previous employees be re-hired?
Yes some will be, and some already have been re-hired. “Right now I’m in the Willow Street location, and we’ve re-employed four of the original team,” Fairclough said. “And we’re trying to reach out to as many as we can.”
The value of the previous staff is not lost on The Color Company, Fairclough said. “Our business in the UK is about the people, and good people are valuable to us as a company,” he said.
Feld said they are giving preference in hiring to previous employees who were let go when the company closed.
Will vendors who are owed money be paid by The Color Company?
No. Feld said that since The Color Company purchased the assets from the receiver, they are not responsible for the company’s debts to vendors.
According to Joel Salus, who has been writing about the situation on his blog Repro 101, SP USA was one piece of collateral the Spanish parent company had pledged against its debt. When the parent company was unable to refinance its debt, the lenders took ownership of SP USA and subsequently sold the ownership – but not the debt – to the Color Company.