SOUTH BEND — It may really be the end of the line for Jessie’s Ilwaco Fish Company after the receiver for the failed processor sought permission in Pacific County Superior Court on Aug. 28 to sell off equipment located in Ilwaco, and abandon the South Bend portion of the operation.
As a practical matter, selling off the equipment with a book value of $2 million would likely mean permanent closure. Any purchaser would have to start from scratch in re-equipping the firm’s iconic red building on the Ilwaco waterfront. Fisheries quotas and permits are the firm’s other valuable property, with a theoretical value of around $2.5 million.
Jessie’s owes about $10.5 million in secured and unsecured debts, according to the receivership petition.
At the Observer’s press time on Tuesday, it was unclear whether the court has granted the equipment liquidation request. The receiver told the court that no purchaser was found to resume operating Jessie’s as an active enterprise, so there may be little alternative to piecemeal sale of assets to partially satisfy outstanding debts.
With up to 65 employees depending on the time of year, Jessie’s was one of the largest employers in Pacific County, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department. It was also Ilwaco’s biggest water customer.
Alber Seafoods purchased Jessie’s from the Marchand family in late 2013. Cash-flow problems were immediately evident, as the company struggled to pay for crab catches starting in December 2014.