A storied Greater Toronto Area furniture brand founded by the city’s former mayor and popularized with television and radio ads proclaiming “nooobody” could beat its prices is aiming to restructure its business.
In a filing made under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act last week, Bad Boy Furniture Warehouse Ltd. said a slew of economic conditions that have weighed on consumers’ shopping habits and its business forced it to make the “very difficult decision” to re-examine its operations.
“The decision to commence these proceedings was taken after much deliberation,” the furniture company said in a notice to customers presented to an Ontario court Thursday as part of a broader Notice of Intention, a legal mechanism companies use to right their business following troubles.
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“Bad Boy believed (the notice) was necessary in the context of a challenging economic environment driven by high interest rates, declining sales in the housing sector and a tight retail climate, particularly in the home furnishing sector.”
The filing marks a significant turn in the history of the company started by entrepreneur Mel Lastman, who dropped out of school to work at an appliance store before opening his own on Weston Road in Toronto in 1955.
By 1975, Lastman had mayoral ambitions and sold the business. His son Blayne revived Bad Boy in the early nineties and these days, the Pickering, Ont.-headquartered retailer is wholly owned by him under Lastman Furniture Inc.
Blayne Lastman and his father, who died in 2021 at 88, routinely appeared in ads together that blanketed Toronto television and radio stations. They were often clad in black and white jailhouse uniforms and shouting, “Who’s better than Bad Boy? Nooobody.”
These days, the chain has 12 stores throughout southern Ontario and 275 employees.
Bad Boy’s Superior Court of Justice filings say its parent company owes many of its vendors, including most of its appliance and furniture suppliers.
Its debts owed to unsecured creditors total $13.7 million, include $2.3 million to Whirlpool Canada LP, $840,924 to Samsung Appliances, $404,410 to LG Electronics Canada Inc. and $317,382 to RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust.
As a result, Bad Boy is facing “significant” challenges sourcing inventory and filings show some developers have purported to terminate their contracts with the company.
To keep the business afloat, Bad Boy is considering a liquidation sale at some or all of its stores to wind down inefficient portions of its business.
It also urged customers who have paid $4.5 million in deposits for furniture that has yet to be delivered to contact their credit card company to obtain a refund.
Where possible, the company said it will work with customers to complete orders, if the cost of the merchandise is less than the balance owing, or if other arrangements can be made with the customer.