It's Happened Again.
This time in Lincoln, Nebraska. Center Stage Salon and Spa has abruptly closed it's doors, leaving gift card holders out in the cold. It's never good to see a business go under and when it happens without notice and gift cards are involved, it shows up on ScripSmart's radar.
Same Owners, Same Brand, Not Accepted
UPDATE: Both Center Stage and Salon locations are now closed and presumably part of the same bankruptcy filing.
What makes this story a bit more interesting is the fact there is another Center Stage Salon and Spa in Grand Island, Nebraska and it's owned by the same people, Pete and Nicole Upton. Initially customers were informed the gift cards would be accepted at the Grand Island location. However, gift card holders are now being directed to the Upton's bankruptcy attorney, Todd Mulliner. He is collecting names and amounts to tally up the total owed to consumers. This isn't likely to do anything to help gift card holders recover the funds they stand to lose because debt from gift cards will fall towards the bottom of the priority list for repayment when assets are liquidated.
I find it strange a business which operates another location with the same name just 100 miles away would decline to accept the gift cards issued by a sister location. Perhaps each location is a separate legal entity and the gift cards policy was always Redeemable only where purchased. However, if the gift cards were sold to consumers as redeemable at both locations; it's a raw deal. Either way, this damages the Center Stage brand still carried by the Grand Island Spa.
I called and the woman I spoke to was unsure if the gift card policy had changed since the bankruptcy; however, she confirmed gift cards purchased at the Lincoln location will not be accepted at the Grand Island location. Center Stage Salon and Spa's website has remained Temporarily Unavailable.
Other Businesses Step Up And Accept Worthless Gift Cards
It's good to hear some competitors in Lincoln are capitalizing on this situation by offering to accept Center Stage Salon and Spa gift cards: W Massage & Spa, Balance Massage & Esthetics and Advanced Aesthetics are all accepting the gift cards in one way or another. It's a savvy move to acquire new customers.
A Better Salon And Spa Gift Card
There is a better alternative for salon and spa gifts: the SpaFinder eGift Card. It's redeemable at over 5,000 spas worldwide, has no shipping fee and the chances of it suddenly becoming worthless are slim to none. In fact, the SpaFinder Gift Card could have been redeemed at Center Stage Salon and Spa.
Next time you're going to buy a gift certificate for a local favorite Salon and Spa; check SpaFinder to see if the Spa participates in SpaFinders gift card program and give a more flexible gift, the Spa Finder eGift Card.