“The 2007 small business of the year award winner is . . . Buffalo Restorations! Come up and get your award!” The Puyallup-Sumner Chamber of Commerce recently announced that Buffalo Restorations best exemplified its standards of business excellence. This announcement was made without explanation so we’ll have to conjecture what those standards might be. Let’s see . . . Buffalo was in bankruptcy until about 2003 wasn’t it? Didn’t it leave a number of creditors unpaid? Wasn’t it forced into bankruptcy because an angry customer was suing it for $200,000? But that is ancient history, the chamber of commerce must be celebrating the fact that Buffalo turned over a new leaf and is demonstrating a high degree of responsibility to its customers and creditors.
Well then let’s look at Buffalo in the year 2007. After all, that is the year in which it distinguished itself. There were the lawsuits brought by customers last year. A jury did return a verdict against Buffalo Restorations and its president Bob Newgard in 2007 finding that Buffalo had committed fraud, conversion (the illicit taking of money or property), and breach of contract. Is commonplace with the chamber of commerce?
The Better Business Bureau is certainly aware of Mr. Newgard and Buffalo Restorations, as over the years it has received a number of complaints, and it has handled a number of mediations with customers. It could be that the number is typical of the businesses in the BBB. Maybe Buffalo got the award because no one filed a complaint in 2007. Well that is not clear. I called the BBB and went on-line but all I could learn was that there is no report available for Buffalo Restorations because the BBB’s information is being updated. If the Puyallup-Sumner Chamber of Commerce checked there recently, they were at least able to get a “no information available” response which — compared to following up on the pending lawsuits — would be relatively favorable.
Well, what else did Buffalo do in 2007 that was noteworthy? Oh yes, there were the bankruptcies that were filed by Mr. Newgard and by Buffalo. As I recall those were filed right after the jury verdict and right before the next trial was scheduled. The next one was brought by a different customer, alleging substantially the same thing as the first.
Maybe the chamber of commerce just wanted to credit Buffalo with good relations with other businesses. I wonder if they noticed that there were about a thousand creditors listed in Buffalo’s schedules. I wonder if they checked with the creditor’s committee about Mr. Newgard?
It just came to me. The award must have been based on Mr. Newgard’s ability to maintain his business as an on-going enterprise through times of adversity. I hope that Mr. Newgard was back from Mexico in time to receive the award.