Future Unclear for Appco

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Future Unclear for Appco

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -- It has been more than a month since Appalachian Oil Co. (Appco) CEO Bryan Chance announced a debt refinancing would return the chain to normal operations, following news reports of empty fuel tanks, stopped lottery sales and empty shelves, yet the money has not arrived and its stores are still suffering, according to a report in the Johnson City Press.

The company continues to wait for an influx of borrowed cash from its parent, Titan Global Holdings of Richardson, Texas, and if it arrives, Appco stores will have to repair frayed relations with customers and vendors, as well as make up for weeks of keeping its stores open with little inventory, the report stated.

Earlier this month, Appco employees told the paper nearly all vendors weren’t stocking products unless they could be paid in cash, which management will not authorize as a payment method, the newspaper reported.

However, Appco store employees are wary of the future, and have been assured "everything will be alright" once a promised refinancing goes through, according to the report.

"They’ve been telling us that for more than a month now, but I don’t see how much longer they can keep going," a clerk at an Appco store who wished to remain anonymous, told the paper. "I really enjoy this type of work, at least when we’ve got product. You get to know the regulars and it’s just interesting."

Meanwhile, as store inventories have fallen, even stores' regular customers have stopped coming in, which leads the store employee to think Appco will have a tough road ahead of it to regain lost market share.

"Now is not a very good time to be trying to find a job, and that’s not what I want to be doing anytime soon," she said. "I want things to work out here."

In addition, Appco recently cut store hours to 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.