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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Apr. 17, 201805:28 AM EST

Clark’s Fish Camp seeks bankruptcy reorganization

“Clark’s is going to continue operating and keep running as normal,” attorney representing the restaurant says.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

After losing more than two months of business last year because of flooding from Hurricane Irma, Clark’s Fish Camp & Seafood Inc. filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring last week.

An alligator — statue — guards the entrance to Clark’s Fish Camp in Mandarin. The restaurant filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring last week.

Customers of the popular restaurant at 12903 Hood Landing Road along Julington Creek shouldn’t notice any changes because of the filing, said William McDaniel, attorney at Lansing Roy who is representing Clark’s.

“This is a restructuring,” he said.

“Clark’s is going to continue operating and keep running as normal.”

Clark’s is getting a fresh start in more ways than one, according to the case management summary filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida in Jacksonville.

The interior of Clark's Fish Camp is filled with taxidermy from floor to ceiling.

Joan Peoples, who founded the restaurant with her late husband, Jack, in 1974, had stepped back from day-to-day operations in 2012.

“Unfortunately, the subsequent management structure did not live up to the historic standards of the Debtor and the decrease in quality has resulted in a loss of patronage,” the court filing said.

“Mrs. Peoples has renewed her day-to-day management of the Debtor and will be restructuring its internal operations and management to restore its previous status and quality.”

Besides management issues, the flooding from Irma caused the restaurant to close from Sept. 8 through Nov. 11 last year, after Clark’s also suffered damage from Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

The loss of business caused Clark’s to “get a little bit behind” on some of its long-term debt, which prompted the bankruptcy filing, McDaniel said.

The biggest debt is $566,000 owed on a mortgage on the 12,000-square-foot restaurant with BBVA Compass Bank. The property is valued at $1.5 million, court documents said.

McDaniel said the bank is supporting Clark’s restructuring efforts.

Clark’s “is well known for its waterfront location, traditional seafood and exotic fare and decor consisting of multiple wild and exotic animals,” the case management summary says.

The décor is a significant asset of the restaurant. The court filing said its taxidermy collection is valued at $430,000.

Clark’s revenue fell from $3.3 million in 2016 to $2.8 million in 2017, the filing said. Revenue so far this year has been about $890,000.

McDaniel said he doesn’t have a timetable for how long it will take Clark’s to go through the Chapter 11 process.

Clark's sits directly on the banks of Julington Creek.


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