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    Payday for Appco Employees

    Bankruptcy court allows company to pay its workforce for another week, yet future remains uncertain.

    GREENVILLE, Tenn. -- At the U.S. Bankruptcy court here, Judge Marcia Parsons ruled yesterday that bankrupt convenience store chain Appalachian Oil Co. (Appco) could use "cash collateral" to pay its 451 employees for last Friday’s payday, along with payments for utility deposits and a group health insurance premium, TriCities.com reported.

    However, the future of the chain's 55 stores is uncertain, as the company's plan to get gas flowing at stores, approved by the court Feb. 27, has yet to produce, according to a report in the Kingsport Times News. CSNews Online reported in early March the fuel supply plan allowed Appco to pursue fuel agreements with two gas suppliers -- PM Terminals of Roanoke, Va., and Mountain Express Oil Co. of Woodstock, Ga. -- which will allow it to get gas to its 58 convenience stores within days. In some cases, Appco stores haven't had gas for nearly two months, and supplies of in-store goods including groceries, beer and cigarettes, have dwindled since then, according to the report.

    For three consecutive Fridays last month, Parsons approved the use of collateral to make payroll. This month, Appco owner Titan Global Holdings, based in Richardson, Texas, faced a health care premium of about $48,000, while a motion filed last week by Appco attorney Mark Dessauer requests up to $145,000 for utility deposits. The total requested amount was roughly $430,000, the Times News reported.

    At yesterday's hearing, unsecured creditors who collectively are owed more than $7 million, had the chance to question Appco representatives, according to the report.

    Appco filed Chapter 11 Feb. 11, and Bryan Chance, president and CEO of Appco’s parent company, Titan Global Holdings, said at the time the cause for the filing was high gas prices and difficulty getting financing.

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