Chickdowntown fashion shop fails to pay debt, suit says

| Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009

High-end women's fashion retailer Chickdowntown has defaulted on a revolving loan with Enterprise Bank, a court complaint says, and while owner Amy Reed says the days "may be numbered" for the business, she will keep filling orders.

"Good news! Chickdowntown will be up and running in the next day or two," Reed said in an online post Monday, adding that orders placed in the last week will ship, and future orders will go out in a "timely manner." She couldn't be reached for further comment.

The Downtown-based retailer's Web site seemed to be down yesterday. A phone message said the Liberty Avenue store's number had been temporarily disconnected.

Enterprise Bank, Allison Park, last week sought a judgment in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court against Chickdowntown operator Chick LLC, to collect almost $973,000 related to a line of credit the business secured last year.

The business is in default on the loan, the bank said in its complaint, and has failed or refused to make payments.

Several clothing suppliers and other businesses have filed lawsuits against Chick LLC in recent months, court records show.

Obzee NY Inc. of New York City was seeking just over $14,000 for coats, skirts, silk blouses and other items, while Velvet Inc. of Culver City, Calif., was asking $9,750.

Some cases have been settled. And Chick LLC in May appealed a $3,300 judgment the Tribune-Review Publishing Co. obtained against the business.

Reed opened her boutique in May 2007 on the ground floor of the Clark Building on Liberty Avenue, which her husband owns. She started the online business three months later, focusing on trendy styles from 150 designers.

Chickdowntown advertised in Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and other fashion publications, and ran TV ads to drive customers to the Web site that represented the bulk of the business.

Late last month, the business said it was adding lower-end lines and one-of-a-kind pieces, and the store would be open from 11 a.m to 6 p.m. daily.

In a post last week, Reed said Chickdowntown was self-financed except for a small line of credit "that now seems like a big line of credit."

All sale proceeds now will go toward paying off the credit line, instead of operating expenses such as payroll, she said, and merchandise is being sold at clearance prices, with all sales final.

Reed, writing that the days for Chickdowntown "may be numbered," also said she bought the online name . There, she said, she plans to write about "life after CD," a possible reopening and any new venture.

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