From Bankruptcy to Doorstep: North Carolina Retailer’s Products Overcome Delays, On Their Way to Customers
In August, I covered the unexpected closure and subsequent bankruptcy filing of North Carolina-based business Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. This week, there is finally positive news for former customers who have been patiently waiting for their orders.
Let’s delve into the story.
On August 26, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, a furniture manufacturer and retailer in North Carolina, closed all 25 stores across the United States.
Staff received no prior notice, with signs appearing at the company’s entrances over the weekend. In total, 533 employees lost their jobs across various locations in North Carolina as the company filed for bankruptcy.
“Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams has recently and unexpectedly learned that we are unable to continue business operations. Any MG+BW employees located at the following NC locations should not report to work as of Monday, August 28th.”
Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams established their business in North Carolina in 1989, growing it from a small upholstery maker to a national retail furniture chain.
“As you may know, the current economic climate has presented significant challenges to the furniture industry. While we have been buoyed by the support of our wonderful employees, like yourself, the [company] has recently and unexpectedly learned that we are unable to secure critical financing to continue business operations…Because these events were unforeseen, we were unable to provide you and others with more notice of this difficult decision.” Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Interim CEO Chris Moye
Employees expressed their disappointment on social media at the sudden closure and lack of warning.
Last month, a court approved the conversion of the chain’s Chapter 11 case into Chapter 7, paving the way for the business to be liquidated.
This meant that customers who had ordered and paid for furniture but had not received it could lose their money and not receive their goods.
A report from the Sourcing Journal listed several upset customers who were out thousands of dollars. Monika Anderson, for example, paid $11,000 for an order back in March but had yet to receive it.
Another customer, Linda Abel, who is out of pocket thousands of dollars, says, “I am so disappointed in this company as I have been doing business with them for years. Please make it right and give me my merchandise or a refund.”
End of Limbo
For customers like Monika and Linda, the months of waiting may be over. A federal judge has approved a plan allowing customers to finally receive products that have been stuck in the supply chain limbo for months.
As Retail Dive reports:
“The agreement applies specifically to those products being stored by Ryder Last Mile as it awaited payment from Mitchell Gold, which shut down abruptly and filed for bankruptcy in September, with its case converting to a Chapter 7 liquidation in October. According to Ryder, it has been storing more than 2,000 items bound for Mitchell Gold’s end customers. Many customers waiting to receive their purchases already paid Mitchell Gold for the products as well as for delivery earlier this year — but Mitchell Gold never paid that money to Ryder.”
Now, here’s the good news… and the bad news.
Ryder has agreed to release the goods to customers – on one condition – they pay delivery fees. This is despite customers already having paid delivery fees. Customers can make a claim to recover the first delivery they paid, but it is unlikely they will receive a refund.