Chapter 11 for Show Department/RDS

The good news is that business for Show Department, a live and virtual corporate meetings and events producer and supplier, is on the upswing as its Corporate America clients show signs of coming back to life.

The bad news is that on Sept. 20 the Show Department, Inc. and its affiliate Resolution Digital Studios, LLC had to file for Chapter 11 reorganization for the benefit of creditors in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The reason, said COO Jeff Facklis in a statement, “is that we have reached an irresolvable impasse with our lender, American Charter Bank.”

Consequently, Show Department/RDS is seeking a new banking partner.

It is generally known that the banking industry has caused cash flow problems for businesses by having imposed new and stringent restrictions and demands on a customer’s credit line and loans, regardless of their financial viability.

Show Department/RDS assets exceed its liabilities, said Show Department in-house counsel Ellen Park, “and we will emerge from bankruptcy as soon as possible.”

As for when that might happen, Parker said optimistically, “There are things the company has to do before we can accomplish that, but we are hopeful it will be less than a year.

Founded by owner Lee Facklis, CEO with his brother Jeff in 1983, the Show Department is Chicago’s biggest stage event company.

It produces corporate meetings, trade shows, corporate communications, live broadcast and virtual meetings for companies in the pharmaceutical, automotive, medical, insurance and technology industries, among others.

As a privately owned company, Show Department’s gross sales are unpublished, but in previous years its annual gross sales were estimated at $10-$13 million. Show Department employs 50.

There is no question that over the years the meetings and events has changed and compressed. Big lavish multi-million dollar Las Vegas-style meetings, that were the mainstay of companies like Show Department, have all but disappeared and their loss felt by every aspect of the multi-billion dollar trade show industry.

Corporate meetings will never entirely vanish, however, although they have declined in number and scaled back in size due to the souring economy and technology that allows virtual meetings, without attendant travel and hotel expenses, or via video conference.

As a result, noted Parker, “We are quite hopeful of an uptick in the economy insofar as corporate clients coming back.”

Jeff Facklis was also optimistic. “I assure you that we are open for business and intend to emerge from this a stronger and better company,” he stated.