JAMESTOWN, N.Y. (WIVB) - A storm of customer complaints is swirling now that a local furniture company has gone bankrupt.
Crawford Furniture is fighting to stay alive and the 127-year-old Jamestown company filed for re-organization under Chapter 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. That move effectively freezes all attempts by creditors to collect on their debts.
Crawford Furniture's troubles became abundantly clear when their store in Hamburg, and warehouse in Cheektowaga were shuttered for non-payment of rent.
Scott Zawierucha said, "I went up to look at it, and sure enough the landlord put a sign on the outside of the door that they were closed as well. That told me everything I wanted to know."
Zawierucha is among the consumers who contacted Call 4 Action about problems with Crawford Furniture, mainly over delivery issues. Their furniture was delivered late, or not at all.
Now it appears disputes over rent might be what has sent the company over the edge. Three of the larger claims were filed by Crawford's landlords, one for $98,000, another for $161,000, and a third for $60,000. Chapter 11 is allowing the stores to re-open.
Bankruptcy attorney Garry Graber said, "And generally speaking, if the lease has not been terminated, legally, prior to the bankruptcy, any landlord who has locked its tenant out would have to give them back possession of the premises."
Company officials and workers say cheap imports are heavily tilting the playing field.
Union president Howard Lyon said, "We cannot compete with Vietnam, China. They are just killing us. They can bring stuff in here, and sell it for half the price we can make it for."
Crawford spokesman Brett Cappa issued a brief statement saying, in part, "Chapter 11 will allow Crawford to continue operating their businesses while they assess the operations of the companies," and that, "Crawford will continue to labor and find a way to keep selling a great American-made product." Read the full statement here. Chapter 11 can also give customers some leverage.
"That gives consumers who have put down a deposit on consumer goods a priority, meaning they have to be paid at the top of the economic totem pole, to the extent of $2,600," explained Graber.
The Jamestown factory was also closed, and company officials say they will recall workers on September 12th. Bankruptcy court officials say customers who are still owed money for furniture they have not received should be receiving claim forms in the mail shortly.
There is a hearing Thursday in Buffalo about the use of medical marijuana. So far 20 states and Washington D.C. allow it.
Common Core, a new wave of educational standards now being implemented across the country, is causing controversy across the nation, and took center stage in Jamestown Wednesday evening.
In an effort to combat childhood obesity, a local school district is now banning a popular sweet treat.
BJ's Wholesale Club put out an advertisement offering a full week of Black Friday bargains, including deep discounts on big screen TVs that would save customers hundreds of dollars.
Sheriff Tim Howard announced Thursday that accident reports will now be available online at crashdocs.org and from the sheriff’s website.
A driver and his passenger are facing drug charges after a police stop Wednesday night in a parking lot at Grant and Amherst Streets, in Buffalo.