By SHERIDAN CYR
When Pack Tracks owner Wendy Shaw announced her dog grooming/sitting business of seven years would be closing on Oct. 9, some customers took to social media to air out their frustrations about what would happen to services already paid for and scheduled.
Allegations were made against the business, with some patrons charging that customers would not be refunded, and that the sudden closure was suspicious.
Shaw said that she wants Pack Tracks customers to know there is nothing suspicious ensuing, and she is actively searching for a new location.
“We’ve been closed for 48 hours. If it has been a month, or two months, and I hadn’t gotten back to customers, then I could understand their anger, but it’s been two days,” she said. “My stuff’s not even cleared out of the building yet.”
Shaw has been looking into relocating for more than two months due to ongoing issues with the building itself, but reports that relocating, especially with dogs, is a lengthy process that involves working out permits and zoning regulations at the town’s level.
“I gave everyone receipts personally. Everybody knows where they are, and nobody will lose time or money,” Shaw said. At Pack Tracks, customers would sign up for unlimited services for a specific amount of time—one month, three months, six months or a year. Unlimited services have been paused and will restart when Pack Tracks reopens.
“I will honor those customers and pay them back if I can’t get my stuff together, but give me a chance to find a new location. I am not in a situation to pay all these people back and then reopen,” Shaw said. “If I pay them all back right now, I can’t reopen. I have to find a new building, and renovate it, and I don’t have those kinds of resources.”
She added that moving fees and first and last month payment fees on a new location are also required.
Shaw reported there are three potential locations where she could move Pack Tracks to: one in Southington, and two out of town.
“We could potentially be open as soon as next week. We just don’t know right now, and I’m not going to make promises I can’t keep,” she said. “I’ve always worked very hard, and I’ve fallen on some hard times. I will get back on my feet, and if I can’t, I will refund everybody. If I gave you a receipt, I plan on doing something about it.”
In an email sent out to all Pack Track customers, Shaw thanked everyone for years of patronage, and made herself the Pack Tracks manager available to take questions and comments.
“We have exhausted every option we have available to us and have no choice but to close. Please understand we did not make this decision easily,” states the email. “We have plans to come back but it will take time to rebuild. We are going to offer daily dog walking and overnight care in your home in the meantime to any of our clients who still want our services. We are going to keep a record of all clients’ punch cards and plan to honor them in the future.”
Catherine Blinder, an education outreach communicator from the Connecticut department of consumer protection, said it is “unfortunate” when a business closes and patrons’ monies are involved.
“It is a sad situation, and unfortunately, there’s not a lot of consumer protection for it,” said Blinder. “The very first step would be to reach out to the business owner and try to work with them – see if they offer full or partial refunds.”
Pack Tracks has opened a private Facebook group called Pack Tracks Developments to keep patrons informed of what is happening.