SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento woman is scrambling to save her wedding after a party rental company goes out of business just four days before she says "I do."
“At first it was like this can’t be happening, this isn’t right,” said Gloria Wahlstrom, the bride-to-be’s mom.
The bride, Lindsay Wahlstrom, got the alarming phone call from America’s Party Rental Tuesday morning, and she wasn’t the only one.
“I just got a call today that they’re not gonna be able to deliver anything, and that was it,” she said.
Lindsay found out that none of the items she ordered seven months ago for her Saturday wedding will make it.
“Tables, chairs, linens, the arch, basically everything for my reception,” she said.
America’s Party Rental is a family business that’s been operating in North Highlands for 12 years.
The owner, Brian Puleo, tells CBS13 he was forced to close shop for undisclosed reasons.
The call came from an employee of the company who, according to Lindsay, said she was let go Tuesday but chose to stay back and make calls to customers.
“The first thing I said was why don’t you fulfill the orders you have this weekend, and not accept new orders? She had no answers,” said Lindsay.
“You have a contract signed seven months ago, you can’t just shut down business overnight. There had to be foreseeable circumstances,” said Gloria.
The owner of the company responded by saying in part, “the bride's order is being fulfilled and we were working with another company in town to fulfill it.”
But Lindsay says that referred company not only didn’t have all her same items but were charging hundreds more.
Meanwhile, Nikki Judge is another bride who says she was met with closed doors on a Saturday when she went to pick up her order of 120 chairs just one day before her wedding on Oct. 7.
“I was frantic, panicked, stressed out, didn’t know what to do,” said Judge.
The company says, “This particular order was a simple oversight by a very good employee of mine and unfortunately it turned into a crisis beyond our control. It had and has nothing to do with our closure.”
Puleo said, in that case, an employee failed to call Judge to let her know that they were not going to be open Saturday as originally agreed upon for pickup. He said, “as the season has been winding down we have chosen not to hire additional employees knowing we'd be closing our doors.”
And while the company refunded Judge’s deposit. She has yet to hear from them.
“I got nothing. Like hey I’m sorry about that, we’re having problems, I still to this point don’t know what happened to them,” said Judge.
As for Lindsay, she has since posted her situation on Facebook, and through the outpouring of support, is racing to just put her wedding back together.
Thankfully, her friends have come through, and she’s overwhelmed by the support in this last-minute rush. One wedding planner is helping her secure all her items, she’s still looking for a tent but is hopefully everything will come together by Saturday. She’s also been told by the company that she’ll get her deposit refunded.
And her family is hoping others are also protected.
“I just hope nobody else gets hurt too badly in this mess,” said Gloria.
When we first addressed the customer’s concerns with owner Puleo, he sent the following statement:
“There is no such thing as a happy bride. Thanks to the unrealistic images that are filtered and dressed up through social media such as Pinterest and Instagram, every bride wants to have "that" wedding and when they don't get it or can't afford it they throw a fit. Thanks to Yelp, where anyone can say anything they like without repercussions, businesses like mine who try to bend over backwards for every customer get unfairly persecuted and punished for the minority few that could not be pleased even if you gave them a full refund. I have a saying in the event industry: Food, booze and entertainment. You get those three right and everything else is completely immaterial to the success and enjoyment of your wedding or event. We are a family owned business and every dollar that comes into our business not only employs others who are able to feed their families and provide shelter, it feeds and shelters mine as well. I know many business owners who are sick and tired of the customer behavior and unreasonable expectations that are demanded of small business owners. In this world of entitlement and immediate gratification it is becoming increasingly impossible to please their clients and maintain a positive public impression. We are a privately owned business. The public has no right to impress upon or decide what fiduciary business decisions I make that will have the least impact on our family financially and emotionally. The fact that this story is even news worthy proves that people need to learn to face their conflicts and hurdles and overcome them. Stomping your feet and crying that it's not fair will not solve their, or anyone else's problems. We are not choosing to close our doors we are being forced to. I have to find a new way to survive – does that sound fair? You don't see me crying about it though – I'm taking action and doing something about it. I won't apologize for my decision and this is hardly worthy of televised news. If this is all the news that is left to report in the Sacramento area – God help us all."