Closure of local door company leaves customers in lurch

2014-04-16T00:00:00Z 2014-04-16T13:00:56Z Closure of local door company leaves customers in lurchBy David Wichner Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Architectural Traditions, a longtime Tucson door and hardware supplier controlled by the local investment firm Diamond Ventures, has closed its doors at 9280 E. Old Vail Road and left customers without much hope of getting back their deposits.

A message to customers says the company closed on Monday “due to unforeseen financial issues” and that customers who paid deposits for orders left uncompleted “will not be repaid at this time as all funds have or are being used to close operations.”

In an email statement to the Star, Architectural Traditions President Tom Liittschwager blamed the closure on the declining market for custom homes.

“The immediate company closure occurred due to unforeseen extraordinary company losses resulting from the severe decline in new custom-home construction and changing consumer buying trends,” Liittschwager said. “Additionally, the company was not successful in securing capital to continue operations.”

Liittschwager said the company will continue to “seek purchasers for all remaining assets of Architectural Traditions.”

The company, which reported 135 employees in last year’s Star 200 survey of major employers, said in its website statement that it is working with its secured lender, whom it did not name, to liquidate the company’s assets. If there are any funds left after the satisfaction of secured debts — such as loans backed by collateral — they would be distributed on a pro-rata basis to other creditors, “although it is unlikely there will be any remaining funds,” the company said.

Local customer Merle McPheeters said he was “completely shocked” when he got an email from an Architectural Traditions staffer informing him of the company’s closure.

McPheeters said he had paid a 50 percent deposit of $335 to the company on March 11 for a set of hand-forged door-handle hardware and locks to use in the ongoing renovation of his Tucson home. He was still awaiting his order when he got the closure message.

“They had a big, beautiful building, it was fully stocked, and it looked like they were fully staffed,” he said.

McPheeters said he feels the company should make efforts to repay outstanding customer deposits, adding he doubts it would be worth it to file a lawsuit to recover his money.

“I feel like they took my money to pay their closing costs,” he said. “It just seems unethical taking deposits when they saw the handwriting on the floor.”

There is no record of Architectural Traditions filing for bankruptcy.

According to the company’s website, Architectural Traditions was founded nearly 25 years ago by builder Mark Butler and was initially called Southwest Door Co.

Diamond Ventures, a Tucson-based real-estate development and investment company, was an initial partner in the business and assumed full control of Architectural Traditions when Butler retired in 2003, the company’s website said.

According to corporate records, Architectural Traditions LLC was established as an Arizona limited-liability company in 2010, and its name was trademarked in 2004. The owner of the trademark is New Southwest Door Co. Inc., which originally was incorporated in 1992.

The corporate members of Architectural Traditions LLC are New Southwest Door Co. Inc. and Tracy Edgemon of Flower Mound, Texas.

According to state corporation records, the president and CEO of New Southwest Door is prominent local investor Don Diamond, chairman of Diamond Ventures Partners. Diamond Ventures President David Goldstein is listed as vice president, treasurer and secretary of New Southwest Door.

Contact Assistant Business Editor David Wichner at dwichner@azstarnet.com or 573-4181.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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