More than 40 Strauss Discount Auto stores scattered throughout the region — including six in Queens — have gone bankrupt, leaving more than 600 employees without a job and customers shocked by the sudden shuttering.
Strauss Auto, a New Jersey-based retailer primarily known for selling car accessories and parts, encountered insurmountable financial difficulties for the third time in six years, leading to a Chapter 11 petition, according to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court.
The company, formally known as SDA Inc., filed for bankruptcy on June 4, court records show, and is said to be paced for re-organization. The chain’s 44 stores throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are in the process of being shut down, according to Bill Belinowicz, director of real estate of Strauss Discount Auto.
“We practically found out overnight,” said John, an employee at a Bayside Strauss store, who did not give his last name. “All our managers were fired. Now, we have to move everything out of the store.”
Movers and workers were present at the 204-11 Northern Boulevard store on June 18, dismantling what was left of the location.
The retail chain, founded by Herman Schlenger and Harry Roth in New Jersey as R & S Home and Auto Stores, has supplied customers with car-related products since 1919.
“I can’t believe it. This place is gone. It was just here a couple days ago,” said Timothy, a customer from Flushing.