Thomasville Home Furnishings of the Chesapeake Inc. went out of business yesterday, closing its four Baltimore-area stores and dismissing all but a handful of its 45 employees.
Lawyers for the company promised that its chief supplier, Thomasville Furniture Industries of Thomasville, N.C., will complete deliveries to about 2,500 customers who have put down deposits and have not yet received the furniture they ordered.
"There will be no move for protection from creditors under the bankruptcy laws. The company is closing and there will be no further business operations after today," said Gary R. Greenblatt, of Schwarz & Greenblatt, a lawyer in the case.
"The firm had been struggling for the past year to keep its stores open due to the slow economy, and when it became apparent in July that they could not continue, they made arrangements with Thomasville to see that the customers would receive their furniture," said Charles E. Rosolio, the company's lawyer.
The firm opened its newest store in Catonsville in July 1992 and had other stores in Towson, Bel Air and Arnold.
Customers with unfilled orders may leave a recorded message, including their names, phone numbers, addresses and order numbers if available, by calling (910) 476-2324. Thomasville has been given the stores' computer files of pending orders, and an employee will call back to discuss delivery, Mr. Rosolio said.
The four-store chain was started in the early 1980s by Interdesign Corp., which is owned by investors from several Arab countries. It had annual sales of more than $20 million a year before the recession, Mr. Greenblatt said.
Besides its chief supplier, Thomasville, which will take back furniture advanced to the firm, the company owes $600,000 to Farncombe, Ltd., of Jersey, Channel Islands, also a supplier, and $2 million in principal and interest on a loan from Rifaat Masri, a local investor who formerly was the chain's president.