Paul Harris Stores Inc., Indianapolis, a women's sportswear and accessories retailer, announced last week that it would purchase the operating The J. Peterman Co., Lexington, KY, for $10 million.
Paul Harris, which currently operates 304 stores in 29 states across the country, has already dispatched a management team to Lexington to prepare a transition program for the J. Peterman operation. The company said that one in four Americans over the age of 18 recognize the J. Peterman name, and the brand represents an unlimited potential for the company's shareholders.
Just days earlier, a U.S. bankruptcy court judge had approved a plan to allow the catalog retailer to liquidate and close its doors with $14 million in outstanding debt, after announced plans for a massive retail expansion of his company had collapsed. At about that same time, Robert Bolson a confirmed former J. Peterman associate brazenly declared in a press release that he would be writing a book about The J. Peterman Co., while John Peterman himself, the man jettisoned to near nostalgic status as a recurring character on television's Seinfeld comedy, hinted to news wire reporters that he might become an author himself.
But like the Seinfeld show, fate appeared to have delivered a final dramatic act for J. Peterman, at least until Paul Harris stepped in.
According to spokesman David Sease, the company will acquire the inventory of 13 J. Peterman stores as well as inventory in its distribution center, the catalog mailing list, Web site and all intellectual property associated with the J. Peterman Co. trademark.
Paul Harris said it has not yet decided the fate of the J. Peterman catalog operation.