NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It’s lights out for a popular Manhattan lighting store. The longtime Bowery business suddenly closed, leaving many customers in the dark.
With a receipt in hand, Jeffrey Hyman and his wife Donna came down to the shuttered store to see it for themselves.
The gates closed in the middle of the day at “Lighting by Gregory” on the Bowery.
“Very upset because they owe me $881,” Hyman told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.
The couple bought lights for their kitchen there in August, but never got them.
“I called three weeks ago and they said they’d find out what’s going on and call me back. Didn’t call me back so we trekked into the city today to kinda have a fight.”
The longtime Manhattan business – open for decades – abruptly shut down on Monday.
A message on their door – and website – says “it is with deep regret and sadness that, after 40 years of service, Lighting by Gregory has closed its doors.”
On Friday, many of the nearly 20 laid-off employees returned to collect their belongings.
Store president William Skarren spoke with CBS2 by phone.
“You’re just gonna see people with tears in their eyes, just devastated. There’s no other way to put it,” Skarren said.
He explained they started the process of filing for bankruptcy, citing the economy, high rent, and the rise in online shopping as reasons they couldn’t stay afloat.
“I’m surprised. I’ve been coming down for 15-20 years now. I’ve recommended a lot of customers,” customer Michael Ellison said.
The big question now for customers left hanging: what can they do?
The company is asking anyone with an unclaimed order or deposit to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact their credit card company for reimbursement.
“We apologize for this unfortunate situation… We will be responding to all customers as quickly and as expeditiously as possible, advising on the ability to file for their unclaimed orders and their deposits,” the company’s president added.
The Better Business Bureau advises, in situations like these, that customers collect receipts and proofs of purchase and then contact the store.
The bureau also recommends disputing the charge with your credit card company, saying that credit cards offer the most protection with big ticket purchases.
The store president says official notices will also go out to customers and vendors next week, but it’s unclear at this point if or when they’ll ever get their merchandise.