Urban Home closes up shop

Owner Jim Kennedy promises to refund all payments.

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Urban Home has closed its doors and vacated the high-profile premises at the corner of Cunard and Agricola Streets. The furniture store had a rough go off it from the start; its announced opening in February 2011 was delayed four days, then earlier this year the store shut down for renovations that dragged on for weeks, and only re-opened earlier this month. All the while, customers who had ordered and paid deposits on merchandise said they had not received that merchandise. One customer told me he contacted the manufacturer directly, and was told that Urban Home had never ordered the goods he had paid a deposit on.

Earlier this week I attempted to contact all the disgruntled customers who had commented on The Coast website. About half of those who responded said they had received a refund; the other half had not.

Then, Wednesday morning, the store was abruptly emptied.

I contacted owner Jim Kennedy, who immediately responded, as follows:

I agree that it would be unethical for us to take money from customers and not deliver products. For this reason, we would really appreciate if The Coast is able to help us communicate to our existing customers that ALL customers will be refunded in full for any purchases which they did not receive product. Our closing was very abrupt as many serious issues arose over the past few days which were unavoidable leaving us unable to maintain any longer. We will ensure no customers are out of pocket and would have loved to deliver on all orders but it was simply not possible. We are mailing copies of invoices along with refund instructions to all remaining customers who have not yet been refunded this week so they can expect to receive them early next week. We do not keep credit card information so automatically processing these refunds was not an option. It is never easy operating a small business and we are disappointed that our time at Urban Home has expired.
The initial customer I talked with tells me today that he has indeed been contacted, at it appears that a refund is in the works, but he hasn't yet received it.

The biggest problem for new businesses is under-capitalization; proverbially, new business owners should plan to be able to float their businesses for three years without profit, but that's almost never the case. Still, there's no sin in starting a business and failing, but how that business is conducted matters. It's good to hear Kennedy trying to set things right by his customers. I'd be interested in hearing if customers receive their refunds; please tell me your experiences in the comments.

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