Sportsman's Warehouse will emerge from bankruptcy

Sportsman's Warehouse Inc. has survived a journey through bankruptcy.

The Delaware judge overseeing the sporting-goods retailer's bankruptcy proceedings has approved its blueprint to exit bankruptcy a little more than four months after it sought Chapter 11 protection.

Sportsman's Warehouse operates 26 stores, including a 45,200-square-foot store in Medford's Delta Center.

Fueled by an injection of cash from Seidler Equity Partners, a private equity firm based in Southern California, Sportsman's Warehouse expects to formally emerge from bankruptcy by Aug. 15.

Judge Christopher Sontchi of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware approved the company's reorganization plan on Thursday.

Founder Stu Utgaard indicated earlier this month he would no longer be running the company when and if Sportsman's Warehouse emerged from Chapter 11 proceedings. However, he predicted the outdoor chain would be the first retailer to avoid liquidation since Congress overhauled bankruptcy laws in 2005.

The reorganized company will be led by Chief Executive Officer John Schaefer, who came from the sporting goods company Team Express.

Medford Store Manager Chase Gallentine said his 65 employees were excited by the news.

"You could feel the energy today," Gallentine said. "I've been with Sportsman's Warehouse almost six years, when the company was going through a growth phase and going through growth pains, when times were good and through a trying seven or eight months. My heart went out to all the friends I had worked with in five or six markets."

— Greg Stiles

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