Raleigh Patio Company Closes Down, Leaving Customers Out In Cold
Posted July 4, 2001 7:53 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — Dozens of Triangle families hoped to spend the Fourth of July using their brand-new patio furniture. Instead, they are headed for a seat on a bench in bankruptcy court.
The Fireside & Patio Shop is now closed up and cleaned out, but interior decorator Lynda Lankford says she had no idea the long-time Raleigh business would soon be out of business when she went there this spring.
"People were talking to me and real positive, real friendly and they took my money, and I really think they knew what was going on," she says.
Fireside & Patio filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy early this year. The re-organization did not pan out. The owner had to liquidate the business soon after Lankford spent $700 there.
Lankford had planned to put a fireplace in this client's home. The fireplace never came. The client ordered another fireplace, but it put the project behind schedule and Lankford's business in a bad spot.
"I'm out $700, but it became a credibility issue for me as a designer because I got my clients involved with that company. It goes further than the money," Lankford says.
Attorney Jeb Jeutter says companies do not have to tell you if they have filed for bankruptcy protection if they are re-organizing their business, but you should look for tell-tale signs.
"I had one person call and say that they wondered why the air conditioning was off in the building. You know if there's some tell-tale signs like that when you go to transact business with someone, you might ask the question," he says.
The owner of Fireside & Patio told WRAL that he is profoundly sorry that anyone was affected by the store closing. He says when he bought the business two years ago, he took on a payment plan that left little money for the day-to-day operations.