Downtown Mrs. Winner's shuts its doors

By KRISTIAN HAMMOND The Newnan Mrs. Winner's closed late last week. Atlanta-based Mrs. Winner's Chicken & Biscuits has filed for bankruptcy reorganization, bogged down by tax and lease
issues. Mrs. Winner's was "having trouble with lease terms" and tax issues in November 2010, according to The Atlanta Business Chronicle. Among the list of top 20 creditors Mrs. Winner's owed tax to are the Georgia Department of Revenue, which is owed $1.3 million in sales tax, and the Internal Revenue Service, which is owed $2.1 million in payroll taxes, according to the bankruptcy filing. Mrs. Winner's has seen its income decline over the past three years, court documents show. Income in 2007 was $64.4 million, but dropped to $55.7 million in 2008, and then $40.6 million in 2009. In all, Mrs. Winner's lists assets of $2.4 million and liabilities of $21.9 million, the documents state. However, the attorney on the case of the bankruptcy, John J. McManus, said in November 2010 the company did have a restructuring plan that would be filed quickly. The local Mrs. Winner's on Jefferson Street had a loyal clientele with some people visiting the restaurant daily and visiting with other patrons. A message – "Out of Business. Closed" – is written on the windows of the Newnan restaurant. It is unclear whether the closure of the local Mrs. Winner's is connected with the chain's bankruptcy proceedings. Efforts to contact Mrs. Winner's corporate headquarters on Friday were unsuccessful. According to the company website, Mrs. Winner's is owned by Famous Recipes Company Operations Inc., which has headquarters in Atlanta and in Destin, Fla. Famous Recipes also owns Lee's Famous Recipes Chicken. While the company website reported Famous Recipes having some 250 restaurants in 18 states, including 110 Mrs. Winner's, other sources indicate there was a massive shutdown of Mrs. Winner's locations in October of last year. There were reportedly 32 Mrs. Winner's still open in March of this year.

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