ulos Anderson is a managing director with Gordon Brothers Group in Nashville and is
responsible for management of the
wholesale business with daily interaction
with clients and customers. He first
became associated with Gordon
Brothers Group in 2001 and joined as
a full-time employee in 2002, bringing
26 years of management experience.
Anderson held a variety of senior-level
positions at Dollar General Corporation,
a national 8,000-store chain; was a
divisional vice president at Service
Merchandise Corporation, where he
supervised the teams responsible
for its electronics, housewares, and
appliances divisions; and held positions
at McCrory Stores Corporation and
TG&Y Stores. He holds a bachelor’s
degree in business administration from
Jackson State University in Jackson.
Q How did you gravitate into turnaround and
AnDersOn After college I went to
work for a retail chain based in
Oklahoma City called TG&Y Stores.
After a few other positions in this field,
I joined Service Merchandise in
Nashville in 1993. At the time, it was the
largest jewelry retailer in the nation.
But in my nine years there, we faced
increased competition from big box
retailers and a lack of funds to keep our
store fresh. We subsequently went into
bankruptcy in 1999.
In my position as assistant vice
president of merchandising, I had
a front row seat as we worked to
turn around the company. We
were beginning to see light as the
business improved in the fall of 2001.
Then September 11 happened. After
that, our sales and profits dropped
to the point that the decision was
made to liquidate the company.
The next day I met a group of people
from Gordon Brothers Group. I’d
never heard of the company before,
and they asked me to stay with the
company through the wind down.
I kind of felt that if the company
was going out of business, we really
shouldn’t have much to do. But I found
out there was a lot to do in winding
down the company. That’s how I
got my first exposure to the whole
restructuring and turnaround business.
Q How long was it before you joined up with Gordon Brothers
AnDersOn I started my own
business for a few months. Then I’d say
90 days after we ended the Service
Merchandise project, I started working
for the company in what was called at
that time the Gordon Brothers
Wholesale Division. Now it’s called
Commercial and Industrial.
Q Were you doing the same types of things as in the Service
Merchandise wind down? Did you find
this kind of work more interesting than
typical retail work?
AnDersOn I had been in the buying,
merchandising, and retailing side for
over 20 years, and my experience with
the wind down was a new experience. I
was using some of the same skill sets,
but it was a totally different experience.
You could say I saw where this side of
the business could help companies
during difficult times or, if needed,
maximize the value of the assets. After
my experience with the Gordon
Brothers team at Service Merchandise, I
was hooked. I got to the point where I
was ready to do something different. I
had been in a company that was in
trouble for quite awhile, and if I had
gone back to another retailer, it would
have been a lot of the same things over
and over again. This was really a
chance for new experiences.
I was with Gordon Brothers for two
years to begin with. Then I was
recruited away to work for another
retail chain here in Nashville called
Dollar General Corporation. I was
with Gordon Brothers from 2002
to 2004, with Dollar General from continued on page 40
2004 to 2007, and from 2007 to
present with Gordon Brothers again.
So I’ve had two tours, as we say. It’s
not uncommon for our business.
Q What have been some of your most gratifying, favorite, or
AnDersOn The first one is a
Chicago-based company called F&F
Foods. You may remember the Smith
Brothers brand of cough drops. They
have that brand, along with Sen Sen
and Foxes. It’s a candy company on the
South Side of Chicago.
We were brought in by the senior
lender basically to leverage the assets,
to determine what kind of recovery
we could get from the assets. We did
our analysis and determined that we
felt that it had enterprise value. The
brand had value. The company was
not just a distributor. They made the
product on the premises, with all the
equipment there. We bought the senior
debt from the current lender and put
the company into an assignment
for the benefit of the creditors.
The long and short of it is that we
were able to get the company turned
around. Not only were we able to
prevent mass layoffs, but we actually
hired additional employees because
the business grew after we were able
to fund it and get it back on its feet,
get their orders flowing through the
system. They were a co-packer for
Hershey, which was able to give them
more business because they had the
funds to produce the product. In this
case, we were able to get the company
back on its feet in a year’s time, so
that was really a good engagement.
The next one is a company called
International Leg wear Group (ILG).
This is a company that was basically
a sock company in North Carolina.
Gordon Brothers’ Appraisal & Valuation
Division went in and did an appraisal.
As a result of the appraisal, the lender