McKinley Park Inn, Blasdell
BUFFALO, NY - Sue Bunford is getting married next June, so back in January of this year -a full year and a half ahead- she and her fiance booked their reception at the McKinley Park Inn .
But the once popular banquet hall on McKinley Parkway in Blasdell, as well as its adjacent hotel and nightclub, suddenly closed in recent weeks.
"I never got a letter or anything," said Bunford, who is now busy trying to find a new reception hall which is proving difficult.
"I called a couple of other places this morning, and they're already booked," said Bunford, who contacted the 2 On Your Side Tipline.
Bunford says she only learned the McKinley Park Inn was closed due to her mother having tried to call the business to ask a few questions about the reception.
"She called them maybe a week and a half ago and she kept calling and calling ...she would get the voice mail or someone saying they'd call back and then just yesterday she actually got a hold of someone, and they said,' oh we're closed indefinitely'."
Calls to the now shuttered banquet hall are routed to a Quality Inn on Camp Road in Hamburg.
A desk clerk there told WGRZ-TV on Tuesday morning she would have the banquet manager get back to us.
Early Tuesday afternoon we paid a call in person, only be told the banquet manager had left for the day and that no one was available to speak with us.
However, Thursday evening the owner of the business contacted us.
"We are trying to make things right with all of our customers," said Jayesh Patel, whose family has operated the business for 10 years.
"We are working with each of them to either find another suitable location for their functions, or in the event that we can't, we certainly will refund their deposits," Patel told WGRZ-TV.
Patel, who owns 21 hotels in Western New York (including the Camp Road Quality Inn), cited the tough economy as one of the factors leading to the difficult decision to close the McKinley Park Inn, which he noted had been the scene of gatherings and good times for more than 40 years.
"Unfortunately, it just wasn't working out for us," Patel said, adding that it is unlikely he will attempt to re-open the building, which he also expects will now be turned over to its mortgage holder.
Two businesses have contacted 2 On Your Side offering to try and help anyone left in the lurch by the closing. Joe David is a manager with the Hearthstone Manor in Depew and can be reached at 684-8850. Also, The Other Woman Catering has a select few dates still available for next wedding season.
Bunford put down a $500 deposit for her wedding reception.
"She (the banquet manager) said she'd hook us up with one of two places that we didn't really like when we looked at them the first time, or that if we really wanted she'd give us a check back... but that we'd have to wait for another time for that."
Beyond her own dilemma, Bunford seemed more concerned for others who may be in similar straights, but perhaps don't know it yet.
"Some people may have one (wedding reception) sooner than we did...I just wanted to let other people know it was closed and that if they have something booked there, they're going to have to start finding someplace else or get their money back, because I don't know if they notified everybody or nobody."
2 On Your Side also contacted the NY State Attorney General's office on Bunford's behalf.
A spokesperson there says they'll look into whether they've gotten other complaints. Meantime, they advise anyone booking receptions to read the cancellation and refund policies carefully before signing, and keep all receipts.
While offering tips for consumers, the AG cannot represent individual persons, and often defers specific cases to the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection.
Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Bill Boyer.
Click here to read Dave McKinley's blog.