A Maryland woman brought a family heirloom to a local upholstery store – but the business closed without warning, taking her priceless piece with her.
Attempts to retrieve the chair went unanswered, so she contacted NBC4 Responds for help in solving the mystery.
Linda Washington Brooks is a single mother who has worked hard to support her family. Her daughter Kittonia wanted to give her something special for her 75th birthday. She decided to surprise her mom by reupholstering a chair in her living room.
“She worked three jobs to buy this furniture — her first and only living room set she ever had,” Kittonia said.
A photo shows Kittonia sitting on the couch as a baby. As you can imagine, years of use have taken their toll on the furniture.
Kittonia found a local store to replace the chair’s upholstery.
“I signed the contract, paid the deposit and [an employee] said: “It is going to take time. Due to COVID, we have lost workers. And usually it’s 12-14 weeks, but it can be a bit longer than that. And I said, ‘OK, it’s okay,'” Kittonia recalls.
But months passed and she still hadn’t got her chair back. At one point, Kittonia said she was told her fabric was out of stock.
“February came around. I’m like, ‘This isn’t normal. Something’s wrong. So I called back. She reassured me again, ‘Ms.. Brooks, your chair is fine. take good care of it. Don’t worry,” Kittonia said.
But in April, she was worried, so she went to the store to see what was going on.
“To my surprise the parking lot was empty and there was a for sale sign in the parking lot. And I got out of the car and looked into the building, and it was empty,” Kittonia said. “They didn’t leave a number or an address on the door of the building.
She said no one from the company had ever contacted her and attempts to reach them on social media were another dead end.
“I have the impression that my mother entrusted me with the maintenance of her furniture. And I made the decision to have it reupholstered, and I lost it. And I just don’t think that’s fair,” Kittonia said, fighting back tears.
She contacted NBC4 Responds, and we got to work trying to find her missing legacy.
First, we found out who owned the company. Next, we used a free website that looks up contact information. We found the owner’s phone number, and he answered right away.
The store owner said he was in the process of moving and said he thought he contacted Kittonia to let him know.
“They didn’t try to contact me,” she said.
The store owner said the chair was finished. News4 Responds is to deliver the good news in Kittonia.
“What?! Are you serious?” she exclaimed.
A few days later, the store owner delivered the restored family heirloom to its rightful owners.
Here’s what to do if you’re trying to reach a business that’s closed or moved:
- Contact the building owner or building owner, who may have contact information for the business
- Check with the post office to find out if the company has a forwarding address
- If the business has filed for bankruptcy, file a claim with the court
- If you paid with a credit card, dispute the charge
As for Kittonia and her mother, even though the birthday present was late, it was definitely worth the wait.
“I’m so glad I reached out to NBC,” Kittonia said.