What will remain under that sign at the former retail giant after a massive bank-ordered sell-off this month is unclear.
This week, Furrow Auction Co. completed a four-day “total liquidation of all inventory, machinery and equipment,” according to the company’s website. Items to be auctioned included carpet/linoleum cutting systems, delivery trucks, floorcovering, fork lifts, furniture, golf carts and store fixtures. Even the Carpets of Dalton trolley — which the website listed at $265,000 — is up for sale.
The store remained open on Wednesday, however, representatives with Carpets of Dalton, including company founder Lamar Hennon and his son-in-law Ken Brown, did not return phone messages seeking comment about the company’s plans.
Once a top floorcovering and furniture retailer in the United States, Carpets of Dalton has struggled during the recent economic slowdown. Since 2008, Carpets of Dalton’s sales have plummeted by more than 50 percent.
In May, Floor Covering News Weekly ranked Carpets of Dalton No. 41 on its list of the top 50 retailers in the country for 2011. A year before, Carpets of Dalton was No. 20.
The magazine reported $19 million in estimated sales for the company in 2010, compared to $26 million in sales in 2009. In 2008, the company had $40 million in sales.
Last fall, BB&T filed suit seeking more than $40 million in defaulted loans and interest from Carpets of Dalton, its affiliate companies and executives. The lawsuit named Lamar Hennon, sons Jerry Hennon and Rodney Hennon, and Brown as defendants. Companies named as defendants were American Home Showplace, Bostic Illinois Investments, Campus Pointe at WKU LLC, Carpets of Dalton and Hennon and Brown Properties LLC.
Bank officials have declined to comment.
At the time, Carpets of Dalton officials declined to speak to The Daily Citizen about the lawsuit. They did release a two-page statement about the company’s “restructuring initiatives” that began in 2009.
“My family and I would like to personally thank all our customers and suppliers for their continued support during these difficult and changing times,” Lamar Hennon said in the statement. “The Dalton area is our home; we are committed to continue to set the highest standard in retailing for our friends and neighbors, to ensure the highest quality products are available at fair and reasonable prices, and to continue to provide quality employment opportunities for decades to come.”
In January, First Tennessee Bank National Association filed a lawsuit against Carpets of Dalton and Lamar Hennon saying they defaulted on a line of credit loan. The bank asked for $13.83 million in damages. The two sides resolved the matter and planned to submit a proposal to the federal court in Rome, according to court records. The lawsuit has since been sealed.
Whitfield County property tax records list Lamar Hennon as the owner of the Carpets of Dalton land.
Hennon founded Carpets of Dalton in 1970 as a small, wholesale carpet business. The business grew to more than one million square feet of shopping space. The company moved into the furniture business with the opening of American Home Showplace in 1992. In 2001, the Buy the Room store opened containing value-priced items, from sofa sets to bedding. Three years later, World of Outdoor Living opened offering grills, outdoor furniture, outdoor kitchens and accessories. In 2006, the company opened AHS Furniture Liquidators, a 135,000-square-foot furniture store.
At one time, the company had 260 employees and approximately $20 million in inventory.
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