QUEENSBURY -- American Tree Co., a third-generation family business, is seeking Chapter 11 protection.
The company lists about $2.5 million in assets, which includes property in Queensbury, about four dozen trucks, trailers, pieces of equipment, and machinery.
It has $1.3 million in debt, most of which consists of secured equipment loans.
American Tree specializes in excavating, tree removal and landscaping. The company has an office on Route 149 and a shop and yard on Bay Road.
The business filed its petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court's Albany office on Friday. Chapter 11 generally involves a reorganization of debt so the company can continue to operate.
Vice President John Stranahan said a series of major health problems precipitated the financial trouble. He broke his neck in mid-2009, and was hit with two illnesses in the following year.
"We went through a really long period of trials," he said.
The medical issues forced Stranahan to take a year and a half off from the family business, which limited the amount of work the company could take on.
"We cut our gross receipts by 50 percent, which obviously couldn't cover our debt," he said.
Stranahan has since recovered and is back at work. He said the company is looking to bring back its commercial accounts and fill some of the dozen positions it previously cut. He hopes Chapter 11 will help American Tree Co. gain more flexibility with its lenders.
"It was a difficult decision for us," he said of the bankruptcy filing, "but for the long run and the future of the company, the benefit will be for our customers."
The company was established in 1982 as a subsidiary of French Mountain Lumber Co., according to the website. Stranahan's brother, Daniel, is the company's president.