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End of the road for Smart and Friendly
The venerable storage vendor's assets were reportedly liquidated and the company ceased operations in May.

Longtime storage maker Smart and Friendly Corp. quietly went into bankruptcy and its assets were liquidated in mid-May, MacCentral sources have confirmed.

Two sources who asked their identities not be disclosed -- including a former employee -- confirmed Smart and Friendly ceased daily operations in late May after its assets were liquidated by Sanwa Bank California.

Employees locked out

In early April, Sanwa Bank threatened Smart and Friendly President and CEO Perry Solomon with foreclosure. Days later, representatives of Sanwa Bank arrived at the company's Chatsworth, Calif., headquarters and gave employees one hour to vacate the premises before the doors were padlocked.

Solomon took legal steps to stop Sanwa Bank from liquidating and attempted to continue operations with a smaller staff. Ironically, the company was still telling creditors and customers it was solvent with more than $4 million in assets at the end of March, sources reported.

By mid-May, Solomon could not stop Sanwa from taking further action, and the company's assets were sold off. Some 30 to 50 employees were let go in the end, sources said.

While the company's Web site is still active, messages left to the company's toll-free phone number were not returned.

Distributors in the dark

A number of distributors who once sold and stocked Smart and Friendly products have confirmed the company mysteriously closed operations and were unreachable by phone, e-mail or standard mail.

"It is questionable if Smart and Friendly will ever be salvageable as a functioning company again," one source told MacCentral.

Neither Solomon nor representatives of Sanwa Bank were immediately available for comment.

Solomon, an 18-year computer industry veteran, founded Smart and Friendly in 1982. The company, which identified itself as "the largest privately held manufacturer of complete optical storage solutions in the world," produced a number of successful CD storage devices, including CD recorders; CD-R, CD-RW, MP3 and DVD-RAM media; CD-ROM drives; CD duplicators; CD network towers and servers; and accessories.

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