Bully’s Sonner says employees will keep jobs in wake of filing | nnbw.com

Bully’s Sonner says employees will keep jobs in wake of filing

NNBW staff

Despite Bully’s recent bankruptcy filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Reno, Paul Sonner, president of Bully’s Sports Bar & Grill Inc., says none of the company’s nine traditional locations or four Smokin’ Bullys locations will close, and none of his more than 300 employees will be laid off.

“I guess I was stubborn, and I could have filed before like everyone else, but we tried to do the best we can,” Sonner says. “We are at that point now that stepping back and reorganizing is the best thing for the company. The company will go ahead, and it will be strong, and all the employees will still have their jobs.”

Bully’s sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the wake of Nevada’s ban on smoking at restaurants and tightened consumer spending in wake of the recession, Sonner says. Sonner estimates that since the smoking ban was enacted in 2006 he’s seen a 35 percent decline in revenues.

In recent years, Bully’s has added two new locations and the Smokin’ Bully’s operations in order to accommodate smokers. Sonner figures that shortly after adding the smoking bars typically situated near regular Bully’s locations so that servers still could run food to patrons who desired to eat he had recouped business that had left for the casinos. But then the recession hit.

Bully’s listed assets of $1 million to $10 million against liabilities in the same range, bankruptcy court documents show. Bully’s largest creditors are: Sun West Bank, owed $2.097 million; Nevada State Bank, owed $974,778; United Coin, owed $736,775; Jo Sonner, owed $606,954; Alliance Gaming of Las Vegas, owed $513,378; and John Kackling of Concord Sierra Capital Partners, owed $320,000.

Bully’s is being represented in bankruptcy court by the Law Offices of Alan R. Smith.

Sonner says that despite the challenges he’s faced in 2009 the company will rebound next year.

“We are just reorganizing,” he says. “I believe 2010 will be our best year. We will not be laying people off and not closing and stores.”


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