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Swastika flour-bag seller sues former customer over Facebook post that led to shuttering store

Union Leader Correspondent

March 22. 2017 12:50AM
The Lucky Flour sack whose presence in a Littleton antique shop led to a social media controversy, the store's closure and, ultimately, a lawsuit. (FACEBOOK)

LITTLETON — An antique shop owner who claims she was vilified on social media and lost her business after displaying an early 20th-century flour sack with a swastika logo has filed a lawsuit against a former customer.

Nicole Guida’s suit states that Katherine Ferrier’s alleged acts were “... wanton, malicious and oppressive, and she was motivated by ill will, hatred, hostility or evil motive.”

Guida, of the Chic & Unique boutique on Main Street, is seeking enhanced damages and has asked for a jury trial in Grafton County Superior Court.

According to the lawsuit, Ferrier had previously purchased antique flour sacks from Guida. On Nov. 26, 2016, Ferrier confronted the antiques dealer about an early 1900s sack from the Lucky Flour Company that had a swastika incorporated into its label, the suit states.

It was on display behind the store’s sales counter.

The lawsuit says Guida told Ferrier that the swastika was an ancient symbol of good luck, with no connection to its later use by the Nazis.

Ferrier later posted a comment on her Facebook page that, among other things, encouraged people not to shop at Chic & Unique.

The posting resulted in Ferrier and Guida each receiving numerous responses, including threats. Subsequently, Ferrier tried to walk back her comments in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper while Guida temporarily closed her store.

Ferrier, who was not available for comment Tuesday, told the New Hampshire Union Leader in December that the social media threats against Guida were “awful.”

She said the posting generated examples of the kind of hatred she was speaking out against when she asked Guida about displaying the flour sack.

The lawsuit alleges that since Nov. 28, 2016, sales at Chic & Unique have “drastically decreased,” and that as of January, sales were down “... 52 percent compared to the previous year.”

On Tuesday, attorney Kirk Simoneau said Guida had closed Chic & Unique earlier this month.

“My client was run out of business. She had her livelihood taken away from her,” said Simoneau, adding that “the attack on social media was what led to her closing” and that “everything Ms. Ferrier said in public makes it clear that her actions were purposeful.”

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