WORTHINGTON, Ohio (WCMH)–A local business closed its doors and left its website up and running. Customers placed orders that were never filled and customers couldn’t get ahold of the business owner.
The Worthington Candlemaker wasn’t filling online orders and emails were bouncing back and phone calls were going unanswered. If the name Eleventh Candle Company sounds familiar, that’s because NBC4 has featured the Worthington-based business and its owner Amber Runyon.
Runyon founded the company in 2015, with a mission to employ women who were victims of human trafficking and abuse, to help them live a better life.
That is exactly why Indiana resident, Diana Heshelman, chose to shop there.
“I had heard about Eleventh Candle Company from some acquaintances who were sort of like-minded people who are interested in ethical shopping,” said Heshelman. “All the reviews in months and years prior to this have been really positive that their shipping was fast that the product was great.”
Heshelman placed her order on the company’s website on Nov. 14. Then nothing happened.
“I started attempting to reach out to the company, by email by telephone, the phone number went straight to a voicemail. One email address was not valid,” she said.
Another customer e-mailed Better Call Four about the same issue.
“This was a company that was reputable that had a great mission. And to — to see this, this was the experience that customers were having. It was disheartening.”
NBC4 visited the brick-and-mortar store in Worthington and found the building was empty. Someone who works nearby had Runyon’s cell phone number.
“COVID has been really hard on all businesses. Our business is no exception. I had some personal issues that also came up, which makes it harder to manage a small business,” Runyon said during a phone call.
She explained she plans on filling all open orders by the end of the year and anyone who wants a refund can reach her at a new e-mail address that won’t bounce back.
“We definitely don’t want to let our community down, and we’ll make it right, and will continue to strive to make it right,” Runyon said.
Shortly after NBC4 talked with Runyon, the company website was shut down and a post on the business’s Instagram account said the business was closed.
“Within 24 hours of talking to you, I had a refund,” she said. “I just feel really sad and disheartened that this happened to the business owner, to the employees, and to all of the other customers that we’re really wanting to do good.”
Judy Dollison with the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio said the business may be closed and the owner has no excuse to not fill orders.
The BBB suggests only using a credit card when making purchases online and NOT a debit card. That way you can dispute a charge that may have gone wrong.