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Churches across U.S. out thousands after Virginia furniture store unexpectedly shuts down

Chairs that used to be sold at the Church Furniture Store. (WSET)

FRANKLIN Co., Va. (WSET) -- When a local furniture store closed last week, people around the country were left without their orders and are now thousands of dollars in the hole.

Barry Mayfield has been in a Pastor in Knoxville Tennessee for nearly three decades.

When his church needed new chairs, he did his homework. By the end of July 2018, he decided to buy 200 chairs from Church Furniture Store in Franklin County.

The bill wound up totaling $6,398.

"When I spoke to them, the chairs were supposed to arrive anywhere from 6-8 weeks," Mayfield said. "I was calling every week asking about the situation."

Weeks turned into months of waiting.

"We were told that because of the China embargo that the chairs were import and they can't get to the container to get to the chairs, it will be just a few more days," Mayfield said.

Finally, after waiting 14 weeks, Mayfield wanted a refund. But he never got that either.

He took to Facebook, where he soon learned others never got what they ordered.

"That $7,000 for a church our size is a pretty big hit to us," Mayfield said.

The former owner of Church Furniture Store is Sam Rakes.

"We hate that everything happened the way it is, at this point we have no option but to close the business," Rakes said.

He said he understands why customers are so frustrated.

"We did as much as we could, until there was just no other option," Rakes said. He continued by saying the store pretty much ran out of money.

Rakes says he'd like to make things right with everyone.

"Basically I'm losing everything I'm losing the business completely which is millions of dollars, I'm losing basically everything I own," he said.

Mayfield says he just wants one thing: "We just need our money back."

Another customer in Central Pennsylvania also said he never received his chair shipment, or a refund.

He wanted to remain anonymous. He said he ordered chairs from Church Furniture Store. When he asked about where his shipment was, he was told they were being delayed because of the new tariff law with Chinese imports.

The customer said he looked into it, and that's not true. The trucking shipper told him that the containers were being held until Sam Rakes cleared his account with the Chinese Shipper.

The Attorney General's office has confirmed they have received one complaint on the business.

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