WICHITA — Derby Antiques & More went out of business Jan. 31, but owner Sandra Ostrander is still dealing with the fallout from the less than 1-year-old business.
Ostrander, who lives in Atlanta but has Derby relatives, on Wednesday paid the antique mall’s approximately 200 vendors their January sales but wasn’t able to pay everyone in full.
“There are a lot of rumors going around that I’m a scam artist, and I’m not,” Ostrander says.
She says she voluntarily signed promissory notes and had them notarized for the vendors she could not pay. Ostrander says she also gave them her contact information.
“I want them to understand I am obligating myself.”
Ostrander says there were problems from the start, including serious maintenance issues at her leased space at Madison and Rock Road.
“The business has been running at a loss and going downhill for months,” she says. “It’s my fault because I haven’t been an active participant in the business.”
She says managers have handled the business for her.
“I guess I should not have allowed that.”
General manager Scott Divelbiss says that is true.
“Yes, she did have some managers here who made some really bad decisions on her behalf,” he says.
Divelbiss says he did not handle the books, but he thinks employees were either neglectful or manipulating the numbers because as the number of booth rentals increased, rent collections for the booths went down.
“There wasn’t an excuse,” Divelbiss says. He says he’s not pointing the finger, but “the bottom line was something wrong was going on.”
Divelbiss says if Ostrander hires an accountant, “The computer will tell her exactly who made what decisions.”
Ostrander says she’s waiting for deposits, such as for her electricity, to be returned before finalizing vendor payments. She says she paid about $38,000 toward January sales on Wednesday and has about $15,000 to go.
“I’m having to pay this loss from my business basically out of my pocket,” Ostrander says.
She says vendors will be paid within 90 days.
“I don’t want them to think I am not going to be accountable to them.”