Ashley Furniture closing in Waikele
The 50,000-square-foot store opened in October 2002
Ashley Furniture HomeStore suddenly closed the doors of its 50,000-square-foot Waikele showroom for good yesterday, citing unfortunate economic circumstances.
The store is going out of business and will send letters to customers and creditors notifying them of their options, according to a recorded telephone greeting.
Customer letters will be mailed over the weekend, while creditor letters will be mailed Nov. 20, the message said. Customers and creditors who do not receive their letters in a timely fashion are asked to call 792-0053 and leave a message.
The store expects to reopen in two weeks for a forced liquidation sale that will be followed eventually by an auction of unsold inventory, fixtures, trucks and other items. McClain Auctions is assisting in the liquidation.
Neither Ashley principals Michael Cutler or George Norcross, nor the store's General Manager John MacDonald could be reached for comment by press time. Management at Waikele Center also could not be reached.
Local operators of the store cited "a turnaround in the economy," said Marty McClain, owner of McClain Auctions. The partners made a decision "that this wasn't something they wanted to do anymore," he said.
"This is not going to be one of those going-out-of-business sales where they restock. The store is closed as of today," he said yesterday.
The employees have all been notified and the state has been notified, McClain said.
The store has nearly $3 million in inventory, which will be sold at "drastically" reduced prices, he said.
Cutler's Cutler & Associates Inc., founded in Kaneohe in 1993, established A Furniture Homestore LLC in May 2002 to serve as a licensee for Wisconsin-based Ashley Furniture Industries Inc., the manufacturer of the furniture sold at the Waikele showroom.
When the store opened in October 2002, about 20 parties, mostly local, were involved in its ownership.
Customers would choose items that would then be ordered from the manufacturer and delivered to their homes.
The Hawaii Ashley store was No. 92 for Ashley, which hoped to have 100 open by November 2002. It opened with 60 employees, some of whom were hired after completing job training at Goodwill Industries of Hawaii, where Cutler and Norcross served as board members.
A fire on Oct. 17 that damaged about $50,000 worth of furniture is not the reason the company shuttered, according to McClain. "That wasn't anything of any consequence," he said.
The fire burned mostly fabric on a workroom wall. Most of the damage was caused by water after the sprinklers were activated, according to Capt. Kenison Tejada of the Honolulu Fire Department.