Cables Inc., a company here that made custom cable assemblies that go into electronics and whose customers had included some prominent Spokane technology companies, has ceased operating, and its bankruptcy case has been closed.
The contract manufacturer filed for Chapter 7 protection from creditors in U.S. Bankruptcy Court here in January, and a final decree in the case was entered March 8, following a trustee's report that said more than $1.4 million in claims were scheduled to be discharged without payment. The trustee found there was "no property available for distribution from the estate over and above that exempted by law."
Disposition of a separate Chapter 7 petition filed in January by the company's owners, David and Kristen Mills, of Liberty Lake, still is pending. The Mills filed as individuals in that bankruptcy case, but listed their debts as primarily business debts. They listed debts of more than $1 million and assets of between $100,000 and $500,000.
Spokane attorney Stephen Backman, who represented Cables Inc. in its bankruptcy filing, called the company's failure "just a sign of the economic times."
Backman says the Mills are "nice, hard-working people" who "tried very hard to make the business successful," but whose company ultimately was dragged down by a combination of dwindling orders and difficulty getting paid money it was due.
Cables was able to survive the last economic swoon. David Mills had said in an interview with the Journal in May 2002 that Cables, then five years old, was beginning to grow again after being stung the prior year by the national technology-industry downturn. He said it had hired a number of employees that month, boosting its work force to 30, and planned to add more people soon.
At the time of the interview, the company was in the process of moving to a larger space in the Spokane Business & Industrial Park. Mills said he expected the company to have revenue of $1.75 million to $2 million that year and between $5 million and $10 million in annual sales within five years.
Cables said its customers back then included such Spokane-area companies as Itron Inc., World Wide Packets, Key Tronic Corp., F5 Networks, Telect Inc., and Columbia Lighting Inc., and that it also had customers in the Seattle and Portland areas.
Before starting Cables in 1997, Mills had helped start two other custom cable businesses in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area.
He said he first saw the need for such a business while working for ISC Systems Corp. here in the 1980s. After leaving there, he and three partners launched MOR Manufacturing Corp., in Post Falls. That company eventually switched its focus to circuit boards.
He sold his interest in MOR in 1995, and, with several partners, founded Visiontec Inc., of Spokane, but left less than two years later after that company also moved into the circuit-board arena.
To keep his next venture focused strictly on the cable business, he said, he not only named it Cables, but he and his wife decided to run it without partners or investors.
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