After one of its major customers filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Gamarel Electrical Supply Co., Inc., Hillside, N.J., is rebuilding its business under Chapter 11 protection.

The filing by Gamarel Electrical allows the company to pay off debtors while remaining in business. The 46-year-old company's plan is to focus on moving beyond this chapter in its history, said Harvey Gamarel, president of Gamarel Electrical. "Our intention is to go forward as quickly as possible and emerge from Chapter 11," Gamarel said. When the company might emerge is too early to tell, he said.

The Chapter 11 filings are not expected to stifle Gamarel or its clients' abilities to do business, according to industry observers in the area. Gamarel Electrical's affiliate, Gampak Products Corp., which packages electrical products for consumer sales in the home center and hardware industry, also filed Chapter 11, "basically to protect itself from Gamarel's creditors," Gamarel said.

The company could not go on without help after a major customer, Rickel Home Centers, South Plainfield, N.J., filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, Gamarel said. Rickel went bankrupt trying to compete with The Home Depot, Atlanta, Ga.