ABC Carpet & Home is struggling to recover from the pandemic, with customers claiming they shelled out cash for orders that never arrived and its landlord crying foul as its Manhattan flagship falls deeper behind on rent, The Post has learned.
Annette Gallo purchased a $6,000 sectional couch from the swanky home-furnishings retailer in April and was told to expect the delivery within six months. A design consultant herself, Gallo did some investigating: She contacted the manufacturer of the couch, which told her the original order was never placed.
Gallo said ABC apologized, offering her a free brunch at ABC Kitchen. She declined because she said it felt like “a slap in the face. It’s not cool they are relying on customers’ banking institutions to foot the bill.”
Dozens of other customers, meanwhile, say they could only dream of getting any such attention from ABC.
“Can someone please call me!!! I ordered my couch last November and it has been a mess,” one angry customer posted on Oct. 28 on ABC’s Facebook page. “Now no one is answering. Stealing my money and not giving me anything in return!”
The 124-year-old retailer – known to generations of New Yorkers for its pricey rugs, trendy furniture and far-out light fixtures – was bought out of a COVID-driven bankruptcy in October by a consortium that mainly deals in Persian rugs, sources told The Post.
Nevertheless, ABC is now sitting on deposits and payments in full for furniture and carpets – many of them worth thousands of dollars each – that were placed as far back as a year ago, customers claim. Instead of delivering the goods, ABC has reportedly been ducking angry queries and has even removed its telephone number from its Web site.
Meanwhile, the landlord of ABC’s flagship store at 888 Broadway in Manhattan’s trendy Flatiron District is putting pressure on the retailer’s leaseholder, asking a judge to force it to either catch up on rent or clear out of the space, according to recently filed court documents.
The cavernous storefront appears to be in disarray – with all but the ground floor and basement blocked off to customers and mainstays like high-end linens and antique furniture largely missing from the store.
“The restored antiques are largely gone and there are hardly any lamps in the store,” observed Kenneth Rosen, a bankruptcy attorney who’d purchased a chandelier from the store a few years ago.
What’s more, there is no explanation for the changes to the store – leading some to wonder if the space is being prepped for a new tenant altogether.
“It looks like the landlord is trying to release the space to someone else and is asking the court to force” ABC out, bankruptcy expert Adam Stein-Sapir said of Columbia Property Trust, which owns 888 Broadway.
An ABC Carpet spokesperson said in a statement to The Post that the company has a long-term lease at 888 Broadway and “is committed to maintaining” the location as its flagship — even adding back additional floors “in the near future.” ABC said it was “engaging with the landlord” on the space. A representative for the landlord didn’t respond to a request for comment.
And amid complaints from customers, ABC’s spokesperson said the retailer’s new owners are “focused on delivering a great shopping experience to customers.”
“This includes one-on-one engagement with valued clients to satisfactorily address open orders and working closely with supplier partners to ensure completion of all orders as soon as possible in light of continued pandemic-related supply chain delays affecting the entire industry,” the spokesperson said, adding that the retailer’s phone number “remains” on the company’s Web site.
ABC was burning through $500,000 a week before its holding company – controlled by the Weinrib family that had run the storied retailer for more than a century – declared bankruptcy in September as coronavirus lockdowns walloped store traffic and its bulky furniture pieces failed to move on the Web.
Now, ABC’s new owners continue to blame the pandemic and related supply-chain problems for the delays in delivering orders already paid for. The store has pushed back delivery dates multiple times, including for items that customers said were on the showroom floor or listed as in-stock, according to social media posts and interviews with customers.
ABC Carpet has responded to some of the complaints on Instagram and Facebook, conceding that its “lack of communication is inexcusable” and that it’s “working around the clock to reach out to all customers with unfulfilled orders.”
Some customers were also told on its social media accounts: “We’re sincerely sorry for any frustration we have caused. We assure you this is not our intention and we are committed to honoring every purchase. We are working against global supply chain challenges from the pandemic as well as an internal transition of ownership.”
For some longtime customers of ABC, its latest mea culpa is too little, too late.
Maryana Grinshpun, who runs a design business, bought a side table and credenza for $5,000 for a client two days before ABC Carpet filed for bankruptcy in September. The tables were sitting on the showroom floor and were supposed to be delivered in October, she told The Post. ABC later told her they were “sold out” of those tables.
Like dozens of customers who tried to call the retailer in October and November, Grinshpun found the phone numbers were “disconnected.” She managed to get a refund from her credit card company – and told The Post that she’d “never” purchase from ABC Carpet again.
Another customer wrote on Facebook last month: “I paid in full for a sofa and ottoman in February.” The customer was told by her credit card company to contact ABC, but she noted “ABC took their phone number off their Web site.”
The iconic retailer had been headed before its bankruptcy by Paulette Cole, a great-granddaughter of founder Sam Weinrib, who retains a minority stake in the new ownership structure.
The lease for ABC is held by a separate company owned by Cole; that company, AMMA421, remains in bankruptcy and has said in court filings that it can’t pay rent.
Already shrunk from six to three floors and the basement, the store recently closed the second and third floors and the balcony on the first floor where it had sold lamps and furniture.
The carpets have been moved from the upper floors to the basement and the ground floor, where they were never displayed previously. The elevator bank and staircase by the Broadway entrance have been boarded up and a new, modern elevator bank was installed at the back of the store.
“There’s no sign saying ‘Watch for the grand reopening of the second and third floors,’” Rosen pointed out. “I had the feeling that the building was – or has been – renovated in contemplation of it being leased to another retailer.”