PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) - A popular furniture store that specializes in log furniture is out of business in Pigeon Forge. The store's locked showroom is worrying some people who have placed orders.
The store is Rocky Top Furniture, an industry leader in building rustic, hand-crafted log furniture that's perfect for all those cabins in the Smokies.
It was started by a family years ago and was sold to a corporation within the last few years. The business had a thriving online presence and many return customers.
When you peek through the front door, there is still merchandise inside the showroom, but seeing the out-of-business sign had surprised Tammy Smith.
Smith and her husband recently bought a cabin in Pigeon Forge. In March, they refurnished the bedroom with rustic log furnishings totaling more than $4,000 from Rocky Top Furniture. Then in July, Smith ordered more furniture for the cabin.
"In this room, on order, we had two dining room chairs. A log chair similar to this. A new bench that was shorter and would slide under. We also ordered a new night stand for the bedroom," said Smith.
The Smiths made two separate purchases, the first one in mid-July. However, on July 27, there was a huge fire at Rocky Top Furniture's manufacturing plant in central Kentucky. On August 9, Smith was sent a letter saying delivery of her order would be delayed.
"We got a letter from them stating that they had a fire, be patient. We knew about the fire, so we were patient and waited," said Smith.
Rocky Top Furniture sent another letter on August 21 to reassure her.
"The second letter again said that we still had an outstanding order. They would be calling to tell us when it was going to be delivered," said Smith. "We never got a call. Never got an email telling us when it would be delivered."
Richard Skinner managed the store in Pigeon Forge for the last two years. He said in late August, corporate management warned the sales staff that changes were coming, but they didn't know when.
"At the Pigeon Forge store we didn't hear anything for a good three weeks or four weeks. I got a phone call one day, said, 'Hey, you have to let the whole staff go. We're closing the whole shop,'" said Skinner.
He wasn't sure what to tell people who haven't received the furniture they ordered.
"There is going to be a lot of people holding the bag, I think. Still a lot of employees owed money," said Skinner.
Smith's only contact was with the corporate sales director in Lancaster, Kentucky, but bad news came on September 21.
"I got an email saying she no longer works there," Smith said.
However, Smith was given the name of another person to contact - Vance McQueen, the new president of Rocky Top Furniture. WATE 6 On Your Side called him, but only reached his voicemail.
On second try, he answered the phone.
"We're being sued by the former company owner," he said without giving any details. McQueen also said, he "can't give his customers an answer" about their orders.
Skinner says he receives calls daily from customers asking about the delivery of their furniture. He directs them to McQueen.
"We'd like our furniture, if that was possible, if it exists somewhere. If not, we'd like a refund. This was almost $1,200 worth of furniture," said Smith.
Since contacting Rocky Top Furniture for answers was unsuccessful, Smith believes the company has an obligation to either honor its orders or send a refund. Smith and others can file a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Consumer Affairs. The department works closely with the state attorney general's office, which has authority to take legal action, if necessary.
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