AEDC Secures Plaza Design, Contacts Creditors – March 7, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kevin L. Hoover

Eye Editor

PLAZA – The Arcata Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) has seized the assets of Plaza Design.

AEDC representatives appeared at the business along with a locksmith last Thursday, March 1, according to a story in the North Coast Journal. The story said customers and store personnel were escorted out and the locks changed.

Plaza Design's front door. KLH | Eye

The action was taken to secure the store’s merchandise, which now belong to AEDC, according to Susan Seaman, AEDC program director.

The lender made a small business loan to Plaza Design a few years ago.

Seaman wouldn’t disclose the amount of the loan to Plaza Design, but a 2009 document on the website for the Headwaters Fund, which funds loans through AEDC, listed an oustanding balance on June 30 that year of $234,856.02.

“It’s our responsibility to protect the assets,” Seaman said. “We had to go and close them down.”

Some indication of the business’s failure had apparently been in the wind, as a few consignees had withdrawn their merchandise in weeks leading up to the closure.

Seaman said the action was taken to protect creditors, including customers who may have paid for items as well as artists, craftspeople and others who had items there on consignment.Seaman said AEDC was now attempting to contact the numerous creditors consignees, beginning with those who had called the organization asking if they were going to get what they were owed, or their property back.

“We haven’t been able to put together what’s been sold,” Seaman said. “We’re scheduling times to meet people there and make sure they get back their stuff.”

Seaman said AEDC supports businesses which show a lot of promise and sometimes carry greater-than-average risk.

“People may or may not know that we are in the business of making loans that may be a little riskier,” Seaman said. “A lot of times it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. We are pretty fastidious about who we loan to and we have a good track record.”

Plaza Design was founded by Julie Fulkerson 30 years ago. It was originally located in Jacoby’s Storehouse, but later moved to its present location in a building still owned by Fulkerson.

She sold the business to current owners Jane and Peter Labes, who have declined comment.

Fulkerson described the current situation with regard to her former business as “pretty grim.”

Update and clarification from Susan Seaman: “We are only calling consignment vendors. Beyond that, we’re looking to fulfill any orders that have been paid for and are in stock waiting to be picked up. That’s really all we can do. Any agreements between Plaza Design owners and creditors/vendors do not transfer to AEDC. Those remain the responsibility of Plaza Design.”

 

 

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13 Responses to “AEDC Secures Plaza Design, Contacts Creditors – March 7, 2012”

  1. meme

    WOOOT GO AEDC YOU ALL ROCK,THAT STORE SUCK SO MUCH ,THE EMPLOYERS ARE SO RUDE,GLAD TO SEE IT GONE TO OVER PRICED TO

    #56856
  2. Tristram Shandy

    Who is the AEDC accountable to? Why are they “in the business” of making risky loans with money from the Headwaters Fund? Who eats the loss? Who gets the profit? This whole thing smells like sweetheart politics to me. And who is Susan Seaman? Who appointed her? $234,000 is a lot of money for an obviously failing curio shop. How many other bad loans has AEDC made? Ms. Seaman is right about one thing: people may not know what is going on here. How about a little informative reporting regarding AEDC, Kevin?

    #56905
  3. What is the basis of your assertion that Plaza Design was “obviously failing?” Did you see the business plan it submitted to obtain the loan?

    #56909
  4. geraldine

    So sad to see that once beautiful, happy and eclectic store with the windows papered over. fyi, Some of the artists are now displaying their works at the Ironside Gallery. Check it out.

    #56911
  5. Tristram Shandy

    Answering legitimate questions with a question does not qualify as good reporting. Ms. Seaman said that AEDC is in the business of making ‘riskier’ loans. What’s that all about? It smells like cronyism to me.

    #56956
  6. OK, but reporting is all about asking questions. When someone tells me the business was “obviously failing,” it’s fair to ask what made that obvious to them.

    #56957
  7. Consumer

    My husband was in there last week as an employee referred to the stream of new potential customers as “vultures” since word got out the store was closing. Rude indeed. Not surprised sales were lacking between the economy and customer service like that. I really liked that store too. Go figure, as soon as we had a little saved up to furnish our new home and the employees made him leave by thier poor conversation!

    #56966
  8. Scarlet Rose

    Remember, the A.E.D.C. is an Arcata business like any other; business run by members of the community who believe the way to conduct their business and themselves is to “make up the rules to suite me as we go along”. As a business professional in the community, I cannot tell you how often I hear this statement, “I know it may be the ‘law’ but here we do what we want, when we want, and how we want.” Every business owner in Arcata, has lost their touch with the real world…and business’ like Plaza Design and the other boutiques on the Plaza. If this was the real world, these seaside summer shops would be open only for the May through September tourist season. Face it Arcata, your pot money laundering “business utopia” is crumbling.

    #56984
  9. I’m calling BS on this:

    “I cannot tell you how often I hear this statement, “I know it may be the ‘law’ but here we do what we want, when we want, and how we want.””

    I talk to a dozen or more business people every day. I have NEVER heard anyone make this ludicrous statement.

    #56985
  10. Al

    It’s hits me in an emotional place to hear about the closing of a store here in Arcata. I feel deeply for the owners and employees and extend my sincerest condolences. However, if you cannot meet your financial obligations, it’s understood by all involved in creating/accepting the loan that your creditor MUST come a knockin.” The AEDC was doing what was within their rights to do, it seems, from facts presented in news stories. What is best for the community is sustainable business; if plaza design was no longer sustainable it makes sense to see it close, as painful as it is, potentially making room for a fresh idea. Everyone who owns a business knows (and fears) the time may come when its existence is no longer feasible, logical, or what’s best for the community. One can only hope for strength and grace in acceptance of this, for ALL parties involved. Capitalism is a glorious and tough master. :-/

    #57302
  11. Terrence McNally

    Scarlet Rose did admit that she “cannot tell you.” I believe her that she cannot report ever hearing this statement. I agree that no one ever told her this.

    #57332
  12. Jeff Schmitt

    Tristram, you have no idea what you are talking about. Arcata Economic Development Company (AEDC) has been in business for over 30 years. Their sole purpose is economic development and job creation. They loan money to entrepreneurs for start up businesses and expansion of existing businesses. They have an excellent reputation in the financial community, and they have helped many local businesses with loans, including the original Plaza Design.

    AEDC’s money comes from many sources, including the Headwaters Fund, which is matched from funds from other sources. They have a board of professional lenders that review every loan, and the board of the Headwaters Fund review these loans as well. AEDC has an excellent track record, but sometimes things just don’t work out the way they were planned. Next time, try doing a little investigating before throwing out your “Sweethart Politics” theories.

    #57475
  13. Sam Camp

    I’ll tell you who eats the loss, Tristram. People like me who leave hundreds of dollars worth of calendars on consignment at Plaza Design.

    Arcata Eye, March 7, 2012

    AEDC Secures Plaza Design, Contacts Creditors

    “Susan Seaman said the action was taken to protect creditors, including customers who may have paid for items as well as artists, craftspeople and others who had items there on consignment. Seaman said AEDC was now attempting to contact the numerous creditors consignees, beginning with those who had called the organization asking if they were going to get what they were owed, or their property back.
    “We haven’t been able to put together what’s been sold,” Seaman said. “We’re scheduling times to meet people there and make sure they get back their stuff.”

    In a phone call to Seaman yesterday she told me I would have to contact Peter Labes, Plaza Design owner to get paid my calendar money. Labes has an unlisted phone number and the PD’s Umqua Bank account has no funds. Where did that money go?! If it is in the hands of AEDC, then they should pay up. Several hundred dollars of that money is mine. I’m wondering if I could have cashed those checks if the AEDC had not abruptly shut down PD in the manor they did. Neither party is owning up to the responsibility of compensating what is due to the artists.

    What I would like to know is who and how many other artists were screwed out of the money owed to them. I’m interested to find out and to talk about what we can do about it….

    Sam Camp

    #61770

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