Paint Bar Madison abandons shop on Williamson Street with no explanation
MADISON, Wis — Paint Bar Madison owners packed up their things and abandoned the popular restaurant and paint studio at 1224 Williamson Street.
“In the middle of the night, about three weeks ago, they brought a truck and moved all their furniture out without informing us, the landlord, the employees, customers or suppliers,” said Scott Brandt, the building owner.
On the night of March 30, the general manager posted on the Paint Bar Madison Facebook page, saying the shop had been shut down without notice by the owners.
“We, the staff, are still reeling. There is a chance that Paint Bar may exist again in a new form, if we are interested in reviving it,” the post read.
It was quickly deleted and replaced by a generic picture with a caption explaining that the shop was closed temporarily and more information would be provided soon.
Since then, Paint Bar management has not responded to any comments or messages from customers.
We apologize for the short notice, but we have closed temporarily. Thank you to all of our customers and hard working…
“We literally walked up to the storefront to find it completely empty of all the furniture and art. There was no sign on the door. It was like it never existed,” said Shawn Steen.
Steen was a loyal Paint Bar customer. She said she caught the “painting bug” there a year ago and has visited every week since.
But she is disappointed in the lack of communication.
“There is an obligation to your customers, who have plans there, to contact them and reach out to them and say, ‘Hey, this is what’s going on,'” Steen said.
Many customers have commented on the post, asking what to do with their gift cards.
Some are trying to get back their $150 deposit for a private party.
“Thursday I received an email confirmation reminding me that me that my party was coming up. I show up and the doors are locked and the place is dark,” said Saray Pen Cubacub, who planned a bridal shower for a family member that is scheduled for Saturday.
It is still unclear why the business left.
“They seemed to be having a fair amount of patronage here. I though Madison was supporting their mission of having a place to be creative in visual arts,” the landlord Scott Brandt said.
A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said there are no specific regulations governing the use of gift cards during a business closure.
“Customers holding gift certificates from a closed business could file a complaint with our agency if the store refuses to accept the cards after they indicated that they are still valid,” said the spokesperson.
Customers who booked future parties should review the contract they signed with the business.
If it includes terms that address the cancellation of an event, the business should stand by the agreement.
Multiple customers have told News 3 they plan to dispute the deposit with their bank.
“I think it’s just a really big disrespectful move to everyone who clearly had an investment in one way or another in that business,” said Brienne Ruel, a customer with a $100 gift card.
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