Liquidation sale as high-end furniture shop flames out
Just half a year after it began, the short life of King East furniture store Bentley Flanders will end with a final liquidation sale this weekend.
The store space at 573 King St. E. will be open again for business Friday to Sunday in a bid to clear out 8,000 square feet worth of high-end furniture, including pieces by Ralph Lauren, Althorp, Chaddock, Theodore Alexander and Bontempi Casa.
The store, which opened in June, was the brainchild of decorator Alex Donovan, the former creative director at 1212 Decor, and Jack Lougheed, the general manager at Ridpath's Fine Furniture in Rosedale, which shut its doors in 2011. (The stately-sounding name came from their two dogs.)
The store, with its massive size and grandiose-yet-modern aesthetic, would seem like a natural extension of King East's series of high-end design stores and showrooms. A burst of media attention followed the opening (Donovan was spotlighted for house tours in the Star and the Globe. But the buyers, it seems, didn't quite follow.
Elaine Morrison, of Edgecombe, the building's property management company, says the store was "ahead of the market for the area".
"It's developing, and there's a lot of construction," she said. "It's a great area, but they were ahead of their time."
Consider the corner: The sleepy stretch between Parliament and River drains off walking traffic from the west, and ongoing construction at the foot of the Queen Street viaduct has hampered traffic for the store's entire run.
Morrison says the store was seized in mid-December -- unusual for luxury furniture stores, which are rarely foreclosed upon. (Morrison adds she's "not sure why they weren't able to fulfill their financial obligations.")
The sale itself is also unusual: Instead of liquidating the assets through a private sale or an auction, much of the stock was purchased by a team of young entrepreneurs looking to launch a new startup within the next few months. (Details about the project, called Ontrai, are still scarce.)
The pieces in question involve everything from leather studded chairs to beds to handmade mirrors and lighting fixtures. Everything has been discounted at least 50% with some pieces knocked down to 70% or 75%. Another source associated with the sale says the Ralph Lauren pieces, including beds and a leather sofa, are "definitely the steal here" -- since the company sets strict rules about pricing, they rarely go on such deep discount.
"If there's some stuff left over we're going to drag the sale on for another couple of days, but the main focus is this weekend," Morrison adds.
Despite the shutdown, it's possible the store could return in some form. A note posted by Donovan on the store's Facebook page reads: "Unfortunately, we are not open at this time. We are currently undergoing some business changes that have caused a temporary close.
"We hope to be open for business again soon."
The sale will be open Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at 573 King St. E., from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Cash only.
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