Shabby chic? Just plain shabby

By Shaun Gillham

 Budding restaurateurs (from left) Michel Steenkamp, Adri Steenkamp, Johan van Schalkwyk, Lorraine Chikmbinde and Adre Smith are disgusted with the service and products they received from a Nelson Mandela Bay furniture shop PHOTOGRAPH: MIKE HOLMES

THE fabric is flying between two businesses in Nelson Mandela Bay as a group of budding young restaurateurs have accused a team of recycled furniture designers of selling shabby furniture –  complete with cigarette burns – at equally shabby prices.

An incensed Adri Steenkamp, 23, who leads the group of restaurateurs who had hoped to open their new eatery in Richmond Hill on September 1, has blamed Walmer-based “shabby chic” furniture recycling business Guys of Design for the delay in opening.

Steenkamp has listed a litany of problems allegedly encountered after entering into a business arrangement with Guys of Design, which involved the supply of certain furniture pieces, renovations and other service, all valued at R120 000.

“We had to pay 70% of the money up front, but we have not received the products or the services we ordered and now are battling to get our money back or at least what we paid for. We have put all  our money into this venture and now we are in a crisis, having already missed our September 1 opening date,” Steenkamp said.

She alleged the items of furniture arrived with cigarette burn holes and stains and  unnecessary holes.

“We got scruffy old squatter camp furniture, not the quality of goods we expect to have in our business.

“They put in doors on rollers which made it impossible for the business to be insured. We were charged R8 000 for a cupboard which has the most shabby workmanship I have seen. They took the money up front and this is what we are left with,” Steenkamp  said.

Weekend Post was shown dilapidated furniture which had been poorly renovated and painted, which Steenkamp said the suppliers had charged thousands of rands for, and other renovation-related problems on the Somerset Road site.  

She said she was currently in consultation with lawyers to address the issues.

“We are, however, determined to open for business as soon as possible. The restaurant will be called Weltevrede and will offer original and traditional South African cuisine,” she said.

When approached this week, Guys of Design owners Chris Eaton, Brad Greeff and Hannes Verster brushed off the accusations levelled against them, saying that they had approached their lawyers on the matter and accused their clients of being juvenile.

“I have just come back from our lawyer. What are they making such a fuss about? This is still a work in progress. We will finish the work there next week Friday,” said Eaton, who denied supplying Steenkamp with furniture with cigarette burn marks.

“We recycle things …Why would we supply furniture with holes in it? They put the holes and marks in the furniture. They kept … changing things, how can we work like that? It’s rubbish what they are saying. We supply shabby chic furniture,” insisted Eaton.

The three men reiterated that they still aimed to deliver as promised.

This is a shortened version of an article that appeared in the print edition of the Weekend Post on Saturday, September 22, 2012.

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