Economy & Economic Development  February 2, 2024

Wood: Business bankruptcies edge up

Colorado bankruptcies increased 19% overall in 2023 compared with the prior year, with regional counties increasing at a somewhat higher pace.

But business filings increased 39% statewide, following a national trend of increases in corporate bankruptcies, with 120 business bankruptcy filings in Colorado in 2023, compared with 86 in 2022.

Nationally, S&P Global Market Intelligence recorded the highest number of corporate filings — among companies covered by the firm — in 13 years.

Increases in business filings reflect financial stress brought on by higher interest rates and inflation, S&P reported, along with higher wages paid to employees.

Overall bankruptcies in Colorado totaled 6,081 in 2023, up from 5,092 the prior year. Bankruptcies of all types were up 44% in Boulder County last year, and up 27% in Larimer and Weld counties. Broomfield saw a 20% decline in filings during the year.

But the region is experiencing stress among businesses. In the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado, 2023 business bankruptcy filings included:

  • Uhl’s Beer LLC. The company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation on Dec. 12, listing assets of $119,954, and liabilities of $78,697.
  • Pangea Organics Inc. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on Dec. 18, listing assets of $486,851 and liabilities of almost $3.8 million.
  • Steel Huggers LLC. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on Nov. 15, citing assets of $2.1 million and liabilities of $3.9 million.
  • Purple Peony Inc. The Fort Collins-based coffee roaster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Oct. 24, citing assets of $877,127.88 and liabilities of $2.75 million.
  • Freedonia Brewing Co. Ltd., which sought but never succeeded in opening in Fort Collins, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in November, citing assets and liabilities in the range of $100,001 and $500,000.
  • Bluestone Homes of Colorado LLC, a Fort Collins-based home builder, filed for Chapter 7 Oct. 31, citing assets of $171,871 and liabilities of $2.4 million.
  • Soilogic Inc., a Loveland-based company that provides geotechnical engineering and construction-materials testing services. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 19, citing assets of $100,000 to $500,000, and liabilities of up to $50,000.
  • Worldwide Moving Systems LLC, a moving and storage company that was based at 501 S. Francis St. in Longmont, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, citing assets of $1,180,500 and liabilities of $2,726,185.

And that doesn’t count the region’s biggest business failure of 2023, the demise of Lightning eMotors Inc. The Loveland-based electric-vehicle company agreed in December to appointment of a receiver and liquidation of its assets, outside of bankruptcy. The company at one time was valued at $823 million.

While bankruptcy numbers remain far from historic highs, it’s clear that consumers and businesses are facing increasing economic stress, battered by higher interest rates and inflation.

And while no one likes to see consumers or individuals struggling to survive financially, it’s likely that we’ll see some further upticks in 2024.

Christopher Wood can be reached at cwood@bizwest.com or 303-630-1942.

Christopher Wood
Christopher Wood is editor and publisher of BizWest, a regional business journal covering Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld counties. Wood co-founded the Northern Colorado Business Report in 1995 and served as publisher of the Boulder County Business Report until the two publications were merged to form BizWest in 2014. From 1990 to 1995, Wood served as reporter and managing editor of the Denver Business Journal. He is a Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder. He has won numerous awards from the Colorado Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists and the Alliance of Area Business Publishers.
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