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On June 29, David Schier, credit manager for Jacobus Energy, a Milwaukee, Wis.-based fuel supplier, was enjoying a relaxing Sunday until he received a call from the company’s sales rep for Indiana. It was bad news. The rep had heard that one of Jacobus’ bigger customers – Alvan Freight, a Kalamazoo-Mich. trucking company – was about to file for bankruptcy protection. Jacobus’ owner was promptly informed, and the Alvan account was immediately locked to prevent any fresh shipmentsgoing out. When Schier got into the office on Monday, the first thing he did was confirm the news – the rumor was true. “There had been no real warning signs apart from a very slight increase in the time they were taking to pay, but it was nothing that would make you think the company was in serious trouble,” he says. “They’d been an exceptional company for years and it came right out of the blue.”

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