The owner of the now-closed, 115-year-old Pentzer Printing Inc. in Columbus is going through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Columbus resident John E. Settle, who purchased 50 percent of the family business in 2012 and the remainder in 2013, closed the establishment at 4505 Kelly St. on Jan. 6. He filed bankruptcy Jan. 10, according to records from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

In general, Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Indiana allows a liquidation in which a trustee collects all the the filer’s assets and sells those which are not exempt. The money from the sale is then distributed to creditors.

John Settle and Rosemarie Lynn Settle list total debts, mostly business-related, of $2 million and assets of $491,732, according to court documents. Those debts include money owed to the former owners of the business: $270,174 owed to Sam Pentzer of Columbus; $104,106 owed to Sam Pentzer’s son, Scott Pentzer of New Albany, Ohio; and $55,000 owed to Tom Vujovich of Columbus.

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Attorney Reynold Berry of Indianapolis represents the Pentzers, and attorney Peter King of Columbus represents Vujovich. Both Berry and King said Friday they could not comment on the bankruptcy proceedings.

Mark Zuckerberg, an Indianapolis bankruptcy attorney representing the Settles, also said he could not comment on the case. Phone messages left for John Settle were not returned.

Building buyer emerges

A new development in the bankruptcy proceedings became public Friday when the Columbus Board of Aviation Commissioners approved a preliminary purchase agreement at a cost not to exceed $320,000 with Settle Enterprises LLC for the 10,000-square-foot building.

The final offer will be contingent upon an inspection and appraisal of the building, said Brian Payne, director of the Columbus Municipal Airport, which owns the one-acre property on which the building is located.

Payne said he has done an interior and exterior inspection of the building, describing it as being “in decent shape.”

The facility, which been listed for $379,000 by Breeden Industrial/Commercial of Columbus, includes 8,000 square feet of warehouse space and 2,000 square feet of office space, according to the sale listing.

Aviation commissioner Doug Van Klompenburg said he thought $320,000 was a reasonable offer.

Payne said he has already had two appraisers look at the building and is talking with a third — with an estimated appraisal cost of $5,000, he said.

He said he expects the board to come back later this year to approve a final purchase agreement with Settle since the appraisal and inspection process will take some time to complete.

Payne said the airport, which already owns 17 buildings, has been successful in attracting more than a dozen businesses in the past four years.

The airport intends to lease the building at a later date once the purchase is finalized, Payne said.

“It is a prime building to look at for a long-term investment,” he said.

Business history

Sam Pentzer was the fourth generation of the Pentzer family to own and operate the printing company, first established by his great-grandfather, Orrin Wesley Pentzer. The company survived the Depression, numerous recessions, two World Wars and other challenges.

Orrin Pentzer started the small business in a second-floor apartment over what is now Viewpoint Books in the 500 block of Washington Street in downtown Columbus.

Sam Pentzer, who once told The Republic that he had worked in the business since grade school, announced his retirement May 3, 2013.

In its history, Pentzer Printing has had five locations — two on Washington Street, one on Cherry Street, one on Greenway Drive and the final location at Columbus Municipal Airport.

Vujovich, a former banking executive and director of community development for the city of Columbus, purchased a 50 percent interest in the company in 1988.

“Our plan was to grow the business from a small commercial printer to one with expanded production capabilities and services,” Vujovich wrote about the retirement of Sam Pentzer in a guest column published May 5, 2013, in The Republic. “We purchased a multicolored press and bindery services that allowed us to control more of our production without requiring outside services.

“We brought in typesetting equipment and digital technology and worked to be at the cutting edge of technology to better serve our customers,” wrote Vujovich, who sold his 50 percent interest in the business in 2012.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com