Questions swirl around Meat House closures
Questions continue to linger over the recent sudden closures of four Meat House locations in New Hampshire and a lawsuit filed against the company by some investors.
Co-owners Jason Parent and Justin Rosberg have been unreachable, and their marketing representatives haven't responded to e-mails seeking answers to questions about the closures and the company's future.
The Meat House recently closed its corporate stores in Bedford, Pembroke, Portsmouth and Stratham, and posted a notice on its website stating that the closures were only temporary.
"We have made the decision to temporarily close our doors while we remodel our stores. We look forward to serving you and your community in the very near term," the notice said.
The Meat House's Amherst store, which is a franchise location, remains open.
The company's location inside Fiddlehead Farms Marketplace in Dover was also kept open, but the phone number listed its website wasn't in service. A worker at Fiddlehead said she was told the Meat House no longer had a phone there.
Reached Monday at the Dover butcher shop, Parent admitted to WMUR-TV that the company and its corporate-owned locations have been hit with financial challenges.
Employees have complained that their checks have bounced and that they haven't been paid.
Parent told WMUR the company was working with the Department of Labor to make sure employees were paid and that it had a new investor.
The Meat House is defending itself against a federal lawsuit filed by investors Jan. 22 in the U.S. District Court in Concord.
The investors Edward R. Barry, William Kenney, Scott J. Nathan and Scott Tellier, claim they invested in the company and loaned $350,000 to The Meat House and its franchise business and operations.
In their agreement, the investors claim they were allowed to later demand repayment of their investment plus 20 percent.
They say they made repeated demands to Rosberg and Parent, but they refused to repay them.
Meanwhile, it's business as usual at the Meat House in Amherst because it's a franchise location and not corporate owned, according to Craig Muccini, the Amherst store's general manager.
The closures of the other stores have prompted customers to call the Amherst location in their search for answers. Others have traveled to Amherst for meat, but it's too far for some who were used to visiting stores closer to home.
"I'm getting a lot of phone calls asking about the other stores," Muccini said.