• WEATHER ALERT Winter Weather Advisory

Piedmont Lumber owner makes things right with loyal customer

July 30, 2010 7:55:49 PM PDT
It's the end of an era for one of the Bay Area's oldest lumber companies. Piedmont Lumber sold its last retail store this week, ending 76 years in business. Its mill in Mendocino County goes up for auction next week. The closure has also affected its customers; one family was out $2,000 until 7 On Your Side stepped in.

Piedmont Lumber was battered by the poor economy and by two major fires in one year. Along the way, one loyal customer made a large purchase and never got what she paid for.

Angel Barba had a nice bay window installed in her son's room and one for her daughter. They provide a pretty view inside, but outside there was a big problem.

"It's just like whatever can go wrong did go wrong," said Barba.

It started when Barba decided to cover the exteriors with two copper roof awnings. She ordered them from her favorite hardware store, Piedmont Lumber in Walnut Creek, and paid the full $2,130 up front.

"We paid for them by cash which I usually don't do," said Barba.

That was back in January. She was supposed to receive the awnings within six weeks, but they never arrived. Rain poured onto the unfinished roof all winter and still there were no awnings.

"And so in March I called and I didn't get any answer which was you know odd," said Barba.

A roaring fire had destroyed the Piedmont Lumber yard in March, three months after she ordered the awnings. However, Barba didn't know any of that.

"And so when I drove past there, it wasn't there anymore. It was completely burned down and I was shocked." said Barba.

She then wondered about her awnings and her money. So she called Piedmont Lumber's corporate headquarters and a clerk said no one had ever placed her order, so she demanded a refund, but no one ever responded.

"They kept telling me to call back and it was getting ridiculous," said Barba. "It made me sick. It was like I couldn't believe this had happened."

Barba called 7 On Your Side and we contacted Piedmont Lumber's corporate headquarters. No one there would respond to our inquiries, so we tracked down the owner, William C. Myer Jr., at his store in Lake County.

Myer said, "I had no idea there was a problem with Ms. Barba's order. It should have been delivered long before the fire."

He said Piedmont Lumber was having financial problems and would not reopen.

However, Myer did promise to refund Barba out of his own pocket. A week later, she received a personal check for $2,130.

"It was wonderful. It was such a relief. I really had just thought I don't think we're going to get anything, so we're really grateful to 7 On Your Side," said Barba.

Barba also was very grateful to the owner. Myer announced he sold his last Piedmont Lumber store, the one in Lake County, just this week. The other three retail outlets, all in the Bay Area closed over the past year. Myer said he didn't want to end an era without making good on Barba's last purchase.


Load Comments