Minnesota pawn store chain Pawn America has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The Burnsville-based company filed papers in Minnesota Bankruptcy Court on Wednesday, revealing that it owes between $10-$50 million to creditors, according to Inforuptcy.
After opening its first store in Robbinsdale in 1991, the company expanded across Minnesota during the 1990s, opening in Roseville, Hopkins, St. Cloud, Duluth, and Rochester, and later expanding into the Dakotas and Wisconsin.
CEO Brad Rixmann told WCCO the move to file for bankruptcy was an "unfortunate circumstance," but added the decision had to be taken to ensure the company could be strong in the future.
"While we will have to make tough decisions going forward, Pawn America will emerge stronger and better able to compete in the marketplace," he added.
All Pawn America stores will remain open during the bankruptcy process, the TV station notes.
After initially opening as a traditional pawn store chain, in 2000 it expanded into lending with its Payday America division, which allows customers to cash checks and get payday loans at a separate location (generally adjacent to its pawn stores).
According to the Business Journal, the company more than doubled the amount of people it employee between 2009 and 2011, by when it had 346 workers and a reported revenue of $72 million.
It now has a payroll of more than 500 employees among its 24 stores across the four states.