Guilford spa closes without warning

GUILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Mary Davis showed up for her appointment at Rituals Spa Thursday morning only to find the lights off inside and the front door locked.

“I was expecting them to be open and I was having a facial,” Davis said. “I was looking forward to that. I guess I’m not having a facial … I think that people should at least give their customers a heads-up.”

Workers at the popular spa say the last time Rituals — a staple in Guilfrod for the past decade – was open for regular business was last Thursday.

Building landlord Larry Lupone says he’s been unable to contact spa owner Tom Wilson over the past five days. Wilson could not be reached for comment when News 8 knocked on his door. We also called a number given by his employees but got a recording.

Spa

“I was having a steady paycheck up until Sunday,” said Veronica Ormrod, who’s worked at the spa for four years. “I’ve got nothing now and it’s not just myself, there’s another 19 employees that are out of a job that have kids and families to support.”

Included in that group is Tara Gagliardi, who just wants a reason. “Why would be nice,” she said. “Why is the spa shut down?”

When Wilson, the spa owner, did not show up for work, Ormrod said she called the spa manager, who happens to be Wilson’s girlfriend.

“We didn’t have anyone to man the desk,” Ormrod said. “She said to lock the doors if we had to. I followed that protocol and the following day received a text message from my boss saying I was fired for making that call.”

Added Gagliardi, “Monday there was someone to open the front. We didn’t hear from him. We ran business as usual. Tuesday, I was told not to come in via text at about 6:30 in the morning.”

“It’s like a waiting game,” said another employee, Natalie Lesh. “You just don’t know what to do every day. Do you go look for another job, wait around, it’s just kind of a slap in the face.”

The abrupt closure is also disheartening for people who enjoyed this spa, people like Michelle Kendrioski’s 85-year-old mother who recently received a gift card to Rituals.

“She wanted to come and use her service,” Kendrioski said.

Despite the obvious problems, the landlord of the building has a message for folks holding some of the $18,000 worth of Mother’s Day gift cards to Rituals.

“I’m going to do my best that somewhere down the road, whoever runs it is going to honor those gifts cards.” said Lupone, adding that the sudden closure has turned into a legal issue.

The Department of Consumer Protection says it is investigating. The department released this statement earlier today:

While there is nothing illegal about a business closing, the conduct they follow while doing so may require scrutiny. An unannounced, unforeseen closing such as this could draw concern.

While gift cards do not expire, businesses may. If a consumer purchased a gift card with a credit card and they are still within the chargeback period (usually 30 days) they should dispute the charges. If our inquiry finds that consumers were fraudulently induced into purchasing gift cards while the business knew it was closing, that would be problematic for the company.

If a bankruptcy is filed, consumers may be claimants, but could be the last in line for payment.”

News 8 also reached out to the Attorney General’s office regarding this matter. We’re told that so far no complaints have been filed regarding Rituals Spa.

If you’ve been impacted by the shutdown and wish to file a complaint, call the Assistance Unit at 860-808-5420 or email attorney.general@ct.gov.

There are also complaint forms on the website ct.gov/ag.

News 8′s Brian Spyros and Keith Kountz reporting

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