Sunset Junction Fallout, Part II: Local Businesses Got Screwed
|The Ukulele Orchestra of the Western Hemisphere perform at "No Function Junction"|
Local retailers seemed to fair better than bars and restaurants, but they lost money as well. The worst hit may have been the vendors.
Carols Guillen, who was planning to sell smoothies at the festival, says Sunset Junction owes him $1400 for the cost of his booth and a deposit. That comes in addition to the $1000 he spent on supplies.
"I got a voicemail the day before the festival letting us know it was cancelled," Guillen says, adding that this would have been the first year his family-run Lacuma Smoothies had a stand at Sunset Junction. "I trusted the festival because they've been around for over thirty years. We still haven't heard anything about getting our money back."
That voicemail, from Sunset Junction's Vendor Coordinator Edwin Gomez, also claimed that vendors would be refunded sometime this week, but when Guillen tracked him down at the Silver Lake Farmer's Market on Saturday, Gomez told him he "wasn't sure of anything."
"He said...because he's not the owner, he doesn't know anything," Guillen says, adding that Gomez refused to give him his phone number and told him he didn't have any contact information for organizer Michael McKinley. "He just said to keep checking my e-mail, and that I could find a number online. But that number is disconnected."
For vendors like Guillen, getting the money back is more than a question of principle: his family counts on the booth's earnings to keep his son in college.
"I called the bank but they said it was ultimately up to the organization to refund us," he says, adding that he hopes to get in touch with other vendors to take collective legal action if the money isn't returned soon.
"We're at a complete loss. We just don't know what to do."