UPDATE March 5: Woodworkers, artists and others who left consignment goods at Plaza Design will get their unsold pieces back, Ross Welch, executive director of the Arcata Economic Development Corp., said Monday. What about people with gift certificates, or those who made deposits on furniture they ordered? "I don't know yet," Welch said.
ORIGINAL POST: Customers and sales personnel were escorted out of Plaza Design in Arcata on Thursday and the locks were changed, according to store manager Patricia "Perta" Sennott.
The abrupt action came on a sunny afternoon, when the store was full of customers, some trying to spend gift certificates or store credits after hearing that the longtime Arcata business would be closing soon.
Soon came far more swiftly than Sennott had expected.
Two people who said they were with the Arcata Economic Development Corporation brought a locksmith with them, she said. They asked customers to leave, and asked employees to answer a few questions before leaving.
The lender had no comment on Friday, according to office manager Keif Chavera.
"It was kind of scary for us," Sennott said over the phone on Friday. "I realize they were just doing their jobs, but it was kind of upsetting. They said all the property there belonged to AEDC now. ... I guess Plaza Design had a big loan out with AEDC."
Sennott, who had worked for Plaza Design for 18 years, said she worried about customers who had put money down on furniture that was being shipped, and about woodworkers and artists who had pieces on consignment at the store. Then there were the gift certificates. In the past few days, with the store in turmoil, Sennott had told numerous people that there would be time to use them.
"They're going to think I lied to them," she said, then paused. "I mean, they won't. But it's going to be awkward around town."