ASHLEY FURNITURE: Failed Franchise Owner Blames Corporate

Ashley Furniture franchise owner Robert Myers says the franchisor for the failure of his three stores in Yuba City, Redding and Chico, CA.ashleyfurniture-logo-lg5

Myers issued a press release through his attorney stating that Wisconsin-based Ashley Furniture Industries "made it impossible for us to continue to operate."

According to franchisee Myers:  "They advised us that they were cutting off our credit line; were not going to fill our current orders; were seizing the existing floor inventory and planned to sell off the furniture, fixtures and equipment via a liquidation agent."

"When AFI asked us to surrender our assets to them, we agreed to do so but only if AFI would provide the products that were not yet delivered to customers," Myers said. "I deeply regret that the closing of my business has greatly affected many loyal customers and valued employees."

Myers claims he has been unfairly accused of wrongdoing:

"Over the last few months I have been accused of many things which have been reported in the press. The facts are: I was trying to keep the stores open to provide for my employees and their families, my creditors and my own family as well, but I simply could not generate sufficient sales in this very bad economy to remain in business."

Is Ashley Furniture franchisee Robert Myers a victim of an unscrupulous franchisor?

Is Ashley Furniture franchisee Robert Myers a victim of a greedy and unscrupulous franchisor?  Not according to a report last month by CBS affiliate KHLS TV:

Former franchise owner Robert Myers is accused of bilking hundreds of people out of their money.  Shasta County District Attorney Jerry Benito says he’s investigating more than 200 cases and believes there’s a similar number in Butte County.
        According court documents, a store employee acting as an informant told investigators. the Redding store had been doing poorly since the beginning of the year, but the owners, Robert and Vera Myers, continued to fund their extravagant lifestyle by taking payment for orders they never paid for.  Even buying a new Mercedes for their daughter.
        That same informant says they believe the owners took money with no intention of refunding the customers.
        The myers Chico home is now up for sale for $749,000, and they are no longer in control of the stores.  Denver-based SPCI took over management of the Redding , Chico and Yuba City stores in May.

Many commenters reacting to the franchisee’s claim, some claiming to be ex-employees, had little sympathy for Robert & Vera Myers. 

Ms Reason wrote:

I have NO pity for the Myers. They have operated in a very erratic and under-handed manner. They owe a lot of people refunds they will never see and they have still not completed getting the furniture delivered that was ordered months ago. If they can’t pay the factory, what is the factory supposed to do? They probably were owed a huge sum of money and in an AD article, it stated that they were filling unfilled orders as a courtesy to the consumers and were not getting paid by the Myers. No pity on the Myers!

joyceinyc wrote:

…There is a lot more to this story. When I purchased my furniture they already knew they could not fill the order but that didn’t stop them from taking my cash. There’s no honor in that. I do business too and that’s not how I do business. It’s not like I’m cold hearted but I lost my money, which is not so easy to come by right now. I lost my money

whouwant2b wrote:

What’s funny is hearing this man claim he was trying to provide for his employees. This man could care less about any of his employees that fall outside of his immediate upper management circle. A circle which is comprised of his friends and former co-workers…I’m ecstatic that his empire built on sand is crumbling in the surf. Who I feel sorry for are the former employees, patrons, and owners of these buildings who have suffered from Myers lack of judgment and stupidity.

exemployee1 wrote:

Definately this man knew exactly what he was doing was wrong and now Robert Mike and Richelle are all covering thier a–es with it was the recession and AFI fault. Assume responsibilty cause jail looks good to all your employees for your future. When it goes to court and it will the employees will be the first to testify!!


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