Dear Brides, your families and other clients,
It is with great sadness that I am writing this letter. After 37 years and thousands of brides I have been forced out of business by my landlords, Cliff & Shelia Hodge. With this administration and economy I have been struggling as have most small business owners. I have paid my rent late many times over the last few years but always was able to catch up. I informed my landlords on the 13th that my rent (due on the 15th) would be about a week late. Three business days they locked me out with no notice. They told me if I had the money they would not let me back in and no longer wanted me as a tenant. The Hodges have agreed to do my wedding for this weekend. Maybe they can help you also. Their phone numbers are: Cliff – 469.855.8520 and Shelia – 972.965.7737. The owner of Piazza in Colleyville has made a generous offer to help in any way that he can. His name is Michael and his number is 817.520.0026.
My heart is broken and to my precious brides I want you to know that I will never, ever get over this. I am so very, very sorry that this happened to your most special day in your life. I care deeply for every one of you – you were the daughters I never got to have. I know that words are not enough.
God Bless You All and take you with peace through this painful time. I am so very, very sorry.
A lot of you do not know that I studied psychology & criminology in college. It suddenly occurred to me that this situation is like a death to me. The 5 stages are a theoretical model that applies to a real death or a catastrophic personal loss as I have suffered.
The first day I tried bargaining & negotiating to keep my business, your events and especially your weddings alive. 3 days late, Cliff Hodge called me 3 times the afternoon they locked me out to see if we work things out. He was optimistic. I had renewed hope.
The second day I tried to speak with Shelia and explained how I would have the money by the end of the week if she would just give me another 2 or 3 days. I could not receive any money that was owed if I was not in the office. I received checks in the mail I had to send back. Shelia said if I had the money at that very moment she would not let me back in. She gave me 2 reasons: I had taken her to court on a matter that I cannot speak of here due to a confidentiality agreement and that I was not going to come between her and her husband again - whatever that meant. I'm guessing that he had sided with me in more than one instance.
I offered to pay her another 1K in interest. She would not discuss anything any further.
The rest of the week I was in total denial. I couldn't believe she cared nothing for the people giving me their hard earned money & savings, not to mention me & my family. All my life savings were in that building. $400K+ in equipment, furniture, furnishings, food, etc. She wanted it! She took it!
My denial turned into anger and of course I’m depressed. She took my life’s dream and work from me and killed it! That business was everything to me! My present and my future.
The last stage is acceptance. I will never get to that stage. I will never, until the courts say I’m done, stop fighting this horrible injustice and atrocity!
I have received many letters supporting me. The following was sent on August 23rd. The last name has been changed for obvious reasons.
Janice, my Son and Daughter-in-Law, Shaun & Eryn, had their wedding at your venue in February and it was indeed a magical and breathtakingly beautiful event. Your decorating talents are extraordinary.
As I read your statement, the pain in your words is crystal clear and my heart breaks for you and all those affected by this unnecessary action the owners took. I have worked in property management for 25+ years and we never locked a tenant out unless they were at a minimum of 3-6 months behind in their rent AND were not responding or working with us at all. In addition, there was ALWAYS notice give with a cure period. Perhaps that is the difference when you have a corporate owner versus a private owner. They should be ashamed of themselves.
I just wanted to let you know you (and your clients) are in our thoughts and prayers.
A final note: If you used a debit or credit card please call the issuing company and have your fees reversed.