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Some indication of the business’s failure had apparently been in the wind, as a few consignees had withdrawn their merchandise in weeks leading up to the closure.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