Koen-Levy to Open This Weekend

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Just in time for the holiday season, Koen-Levy Book Wholesalers, LLC, will be open to receive orders from booksellers starting this weekend, Bob Koen, Koen-Levy's general manager, told Bookselling This Week in a recent interview. The news comes less a month after Levy Home Entertainment announced that it had acquired certain Koen assets and would be forming Koen-Levy. The company has been operational since Halloween. "We're doing receiving -- getting books in," Koen said. "We have between 15,000 and 20,000 on order with 3,000 received so far. Today [November 21] was one of our busiest days. Things are ready to roll."

This weekend's opening will represent a new chapter for Koen, as well as a happy ending to a saga that began in July, when Koen Book Distributors filed for bankruptcy with the intention of reorganizing. By August, however, Koen had made the decision to close shop, noting in an e-mail to customers: "The books didn't come in fast enough for us to get sales to a profitable level for the bankruptcy court to keep us going."

On October 18, Levy Home Entertainment announced it had formed Koen-Levy and that the company had purchased warehouse equipment, office equipment, and intellectual property (e.g., sales history) from Koen Book Distributors, but it had not purchased the receivables, nor assumed the liabilities of the liquidating company. In an October interview with BTW, Koen noted that he owns and pays mortgages on the two buildings that housed his distribution business. The new company is located in the former Koen buildings in Moorestown, New Jersey. Levy Home Entertainment is a book distributor that services retail chain accounts in the 48 continental states.

In addition to ordering books, Koen said that much of the past three weeks has been spent on the nuts-and-bolts of the distribution business, such as sending out credit applications to customers. "About 400 have come back. I was worried [because it was the holiday season], but our old customers want to come back."

Jim Di Miero, a former Koen employee who now heads up Koen-Levy's sales and marketing division, added: "Every book had been cleared out of the warehouse [when Koen closed]. We had to reset with publishers as a vendor" all over again.

Thus far, "the reception from ... customers has been tremendous," said Di Miero. "They are chomping at the bit to order again." He noted that Koen-Levy is offering a "generous" welcome back discount offer to customers through the end of the year.

Starting Saturday, Koen-Levy will be on holiday hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. EST, and Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST. The wholesaler will be closed on Thanksgiving and on December 25 and 26.