Vintage shop owner abruptly closes leaving vendors out money

LEAWOOD, Kan. - The Vintage Market at 79th and Lee Boulevard in Leawood sits empty. On the windows, painted chandeliers and decorative designs mix in with real estate signs. 

"I came here on Feb. 15 to drop off some inventory and the front door was locked," vendor Kristi Ashton said.

Ashton and other vendors who rented space to sell merchandise were not happy with the news of the store's sudden closing. 

In February, the store's owner, Kim Dye, sent an email to vendors stating Vintage Market was closing effective immediately. The note said vendors must vacate no later than Feb. 28, 2013.   

Each vendor paid a security deposit and monthly rent to sell their merchandise at the shop.

Once a product sold, Dye kept 15 percent of the sale and paid the vendor the rest.  

"I wasn't very happy because we haven't been paid for our sales or the rent that she took," vendor Michelle Hoffine said.

In another letter, Dye wrote that she would not be able to pay on March 10 final sales of merchandise, the half month rent and security deposit refunds. 

The letter went on to say, "Pink Cottage, LLC regrets the closing of the store, but the sales were so slow the company ran out of money." Dye also said the rent at the 79th & Lee Boulevard location was going to double.  

A representative for the landlord at 79th and Lee disputes that, saying they had not started negotiating terms for a new lease with Dye.

Vendor Donna Swenson said she followed Dye to the Leawood store after Dye's other store at Zona Rosa closed in December.  

"Moved all my things. Two weeks later, showed up here on Valentine 's Day and (there was a) closed sign on the door," Swenson said.

Since then, Dye has opened a new store at Leawood's Town Center Plaza. A recent newspaper article states the store has "the flair of a Parisian flea market."

Dye declined to speak with 41 Action News about the matter.

An attorney for Dye, Bill Quitmeier, said Dye is trying to make money at the new location to pay back her creditors. She hopes to pay her employees next week.

"She is doing her best," Quitmeier said. 

"I'm owed over 70 hours worth of work. I haven't gotten my last two pay checks," employee Leanna Yanes said.

In a letter to vendors, Dye said she changed locations and business models to generate money to pay the vendors. She stated she could have claimed bankruptcy, but is "trying to take the honorable path."

"If she would of kept line of communication open I think we would of all be willing to work with her," vendor Kim Whirley said.

Besides owing employees and vendors, she also owes back rent at Zona Rosa. 

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