Administrators of the failed Tasman Market Fresh Meats have managed to keep the doors open at most of the store’s 17 outlets.
PwC managed to sell 14 of the 17 stores to three different companies, Farm88 (nine stores), The Butcher Club (four) and Australian Butchers Store (one).
Stores at Brooklyn, Rosebud and Bendigo closed permanently.
A PwC spokesperson said the stores were sold as a going concern, and over 250 jobs were preserved across both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
“We measure success by the fact that most of the stores stayed open, which is good for employees, landlords, suppliers and their customers, and that most of the employees kept their jobs,” the spokesperson said.
At the time Tasman collapsed, in September last year, creditors were told the failed butcher owed between five and ten million dollars.
PwC administrator David McEvoy said those that owed most money were product suppliers.
“The business was trying to restructure for some time, but didn’t have the balance sheet, and capital base to fund it,” Mr McEvoy said.
The core of the business was strong and was certain to attract interest.
Peter Robertson, The Butcher Club, said he and his partners had 25 stores in Victoria.
“We have stores in Ballarat, Bendigo, Bacchus Marsh, Melton and Mornington, so it was the regional ones we were attracted to," Mr Robertson said.
"It was probably a natural extension for us to move into some big box stores."
The Butcher Club picked up shops in Traralgon, Shepparton and two in Geelong.
“Tasman has always had a strong presence in regional areas, so it was a great opportunity," he said.
“With the Traralgon store, a lot of our suppliers there are local farmers out there anyway, so that gave us a bit of strength."
Tasman has always had a strong presence in regional areas, so it was a great opportunity.
There was a bright future for the big box concept, although The Butcher Club model was different to that of Farm88 and Tasman.
Tasman appeared to get into difficulties, when it was sold to overseas interests.
“It’s nice to know, in the big picture, the Butcher Club is an Australian business, selling Australian meat and it’s Australian owned and staffed," he said.
Farm88 co-owner Frank Porcino said he and partner Mario D’ambrosio kept the Tasman Meats name.
Mr Porcino said Farm88 and Tasman butchers were working directly with local growers and producers.
“We will be introducing new value-added meat lines, with an emphasis on providing quality and convenient meal solutions in stores April 2019," he said.
"We have recently launched our own Farm88 branded beef lines in stores.
“We are currently reviewing property locations within the Melbourne metropolitan area with plans to expand the existing store network late 2019.”
Mr Porcino is the former general manager of Tasman Butchers, having taken on the role in 2017.
Farm88 also has its own 200-hectare cattle property, at Parwan.
Tasman Butchers was majority-owned by a Singapore-based private equity firm.