(WAFF) - A local kitchen refinishing business is getting our attention after investigating it for weeks now.
In December, 2018, mother and wife, Melinda Frost, contacted WAFF 48 News explaining she hadn’t gotten her cabinet doors or drawers back after doing business with an Athens cabinet refinishing company.
That refinisher is Bellemare & Son, which, though based in Athens, serves the entire southeastern United States.
“He did the measurements, took all my doors and drawers off. He said he wanted to take them to his place to his ‘shop’ and sand them, prep them, in order to get the white look I wanted,” Frost said.
Frost signed a contract with Brian Bellemare, the front man of Bellemare and Son. The contract laid out the color and look Frost was requesting, along with a 10 to 14-day completion time.
“He said it may take 10-14 days, depending on weather and holiday,” she continued.
Frost first shared her story with WAFF 48 News on Dec. 7, 2018, 278 days after she paid $800 and signed the 10 to 14 day contract on March 31, 2018.
It was months later the company she says told her, “Oh, we’ll definitely get your doors sometime next week."
Frost said it was month after month of this similar phrase.
Frost lives in Trinity, about 20 minutes from where Bellemare’s shop is or was.
On Bellemare’s business card, the address is located in Athens.
In north Alabama, Bellemare and Son has an 'F' rating, by the Better Business Bureau. That rating is the same in central and southern Alabama.
Belinda McCormick, vice president of the BBB in north Alabama, says anytime you sign a contract you should come to an agreeable completion date.
According to Frost, she and Bellemare did.
However, this hasn’t just happened to Frost. James Dorgan and his wife, Lauren, live in Fairhope, more than a five-hour drive from Athens where Bellemare’s shop is supposedly located.
"He left with doors from just about every room in our house,” Lauren Dorgan said.
“We gave him $1,200,” said James Dorgan.
This was on July 6, 2018. The Dorgans also signed Bellemare &Son’s 10 to 14 day contract.
By September, James Dorgan said he decided it was time to make a move.
“I arranged to drive up there to Athens, Alabama with the sheriff to retrieve our doors and drawers,” Dorgan said.
Dorgan drove 354 miles to find out what happened.
“He mix-matched our doors and drawers with some of our neighbor, Lindsay. The hardware was mix-matched, and he must’ve left the hardware out, the hinges, outside because they were rusted,” Dorgan continued.
Not only did it take several months for the Dorgans to get their cabinet doors and drawers back, but they say they were extremely dissatisfied with them.
“When we picked up the doors and drawers, they were so sticky that they stuck to your fingers when you picked them up,” James Dorgan said.
“They were all stacked up in a stack, and they stuck together to where when we pulled them apart, it peeled the paint off," Lauren Dorgan said.
Lauren expressed their unhappiness with the finished product to Bellemare. She says he responded on Facebook by saying “I’m sorry you’re not satisfied, good luck and goodbye.”
Bellemare then blocked both Lauren and James Dorgan on Facebook.
However, this story doesn’t stop with just two dissatisfied families.
Every person on the list below are customers WAFF 48 News found who have complaints about Bellemare & Son, and they’re all over the southeast.
“I really want people to know that this is not the norm whatsoever with stuff like this,” Ashley Goree said.
Goree owns Utter Clutter Vintage and Antinques in Madison, a cabinet refinishing company.
“We work really hard at what we do, and people that do this, most of the time really love what they do," Goree continued.
Besides the customers who have filed BBB complaints, others have posted criticisms on social media and even filed small claims lawsuits against Bellemare.
WAFF 48 News reached out to Bellemare several times; however, he refused an interview with us saying he wants to pursue a lawsuit instead.
If you have any information about this business or know of someone who does, contact our newsroom at 256-533-6397. You can also email reporter, Jenna Rae at: firstname.lastname@example.org.