Retailer Jay Jacobs Folds — Early Linux Adopter Files for Chapter 11

By Dwight Johnson, Linux

Jay Jacobs, Inc., the Seattle-based specialty apparel chain
retailer which boldly announced last November it would deploy Linux
across its entire chain of stores, announced Friday it has filed
for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will begin liquidation of its

Jay Jacobs had been in the process of deploying an
application suite for management and Point Of Sale (POS) on Linux
in its 114 stores
in 22 states and at the company’s
headquarters. Scheduled to be completed by the end of this year,
the project would have replaced a system of outdated DOS computers
that used Paradox.

Apropos Retail Management Systems Inc. was the developer of the
new application suite which was powered by the Informix database.
The company claimed it would save $1,000 per computer by using

At Jay Jacobs, the manager workstation was supposed to use X
Windows and double as an information terminal, while the
point-of-sale (POS) modules for checkouts would have used a
character interface, as did the DOS-based computers they were

In connection with the bankruptcy, the liquidation of assets
will be overseen by William L. Lawrence, Jr., the Company’s Chief
Financial Officer, who was instrumental in the selection of Linux
for deployment across the Jay Jacobs stores.

“The decision to shut down our business was extremely difficult
to make… Until the very end, we were actively working with
various investors to achieve a successful reorganization.
Unfortunately, a deal could not be put together given the time
constraints… As a result, a Chapter 11 filing became the only
viable option. If there are any opportunities to restructure the
Company even after the filing, we will pursue them,” Lawrence

A press release issued by Jay Jacobs Friday noted:

“The Company was founded in 1941. Founder Jay Jacobs resigned as
Chairman of the Board in June 1997 and as a board member in
November 1997. By the late 1980s, the Company operated
approximately 300 stores nationwide. In the early 1990s, however,
it suffered from increased competition and expansion costs, leading
to bankruptcy in May 1994. After closing numerous stores and
shifting focus, the Company emerged from Chapter 11 after
confirmation of its plan of reorganization the following year. In
October 1995, the Company operated 153 stores. Since confirmation,
however, the Company faced generally declining sales, net store
closures, and a shortage of capital. In December 1997, the
Bankruptcy Court approved a recapitalization as a modification to
the 1995 reorganization plan, but liquidity problems escalated from
October 1998 forward.”