French Country Living Folds

Great Falls, VA-based furniture and home furnishings cataloger French Country Living on July 16 filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy release, abruptly going out of business.

Neither Jeffrey Mills nor John Berg, both principals at San Francisco-based Dorset Capital, which was a majority owner of the one-time $20 million-plus company, would comment. But Don Steiner, a limited partner with Dorset and a principal with Boston-based Webster Capital, says that the company “never had an experienced catalog person at the helm, although we had some good merchants and other good people.”

Richard Bartl, a partner with the Alexandria, VA-based law firm Tyler, Bartl, Gorman & Ramsdell, who was assigned the French Country Living case, says that the company is in liquidation and will be “selling all assets in auction.” He says that it’s likely that customers with outstanding orders won’t receive their furniture.

French Country Living was once partly owned by West Chester-OH-based Cornerstone Brands, the $650 million catalog conglomerate that was cofounded by Steiner. But in a prepared message, a French Country Living representative says that Cornerstone Brands “is in no way affiliated” with the cataloger, channeling all questions to Bartl. Dorset Capital acquired French Country Living in June 2001.

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