Hydroponics chain works to emerge from bankruptcy

FORT COLLINS — Way to Grow Inc., which operates seven Colorado stores that sell indoor gardening and hydroponics supplies, is preparing a plan to emerge from bankruptcy, the company’s attorney told BizWest Monday.

The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado in May, listing both assets and liabilities at between $500 million and $1 billion.

“They’re continuing to operate and working to emerge as an operating company,” said Lee Kutner, an attorney with the Denver-based law firm KutnerBrinen PC. The company is preparing a plan to submit to the bankruptcy court, Kutner said, and “will probably do that within the first four months of the case.”

Way to Grow has seven locations in Colorado, including stores at 3201 E. Mulberry St., Suite K, in Fort Collins and 6395 Gunpark Drive in Gunbarrel. The company was founded in 2002 and acquired in January 2016 by Los Angeles-based holding company Pure Agrobusiness Inc. That company, doing business as PureAgro, also filed for Chapter 11 protection, and Rick Byrd, PureAgro’s chief executive, signed both filings. Byrd did not return calls seeking comment.

The largest unsecured creditor listed in the filing is Corey Inniss, who owned Way to Grow in 2012, before sales of medicinal and recreational cannabis became legal in Colorado, and was charged in federal court in May of that year with distribution of marijuana. Inniss sold Way to Grow to PureAgro and then sued it in April in Larimer County, alleging that PureAgro didn’t pay him. Among the largest creditors listed in the bankruptcy filing: Inniss is owed $22.5 million, New York-based Spartan Capital Securities is owed $1 million and the Colorado Department of Revenue is owed $73,000.

Also listed as a debtor is Green Door Agro Inc., with the same Los Angeles address as PureAgro.