DEPEW, N.Y. (WIVB) – Customers who booked weddings and other events at a popular banquet hall on Dick Road in Depew want their money back after learning the venue is closing its doors.
On Friday, News 4 spoke to Paula Melson, who has been the banquet manager at the Hearthstone Manor for 20 years. She says she is doing all she can to help those who were planning on using the facility.
Melson and staff learned just days ago that the banquet hall will close effective at midnight on March 7 after nearly 50 years in business. Melson says a change in the economy, along with increasing food and labor costs, contributed to the closure.
“I think it’s a staple in the community and it saddens me that it’s not going to be here,” she said.
The Buffalo Bridal Association reports the average cost of a wedding in Western New York costs more than $24,000 – most of which is spent on the venue chosen to host the reception.
Melson says neither she nor the staff knew the facility was closing.
“Ethically, morally, I would have never taken deposits from people if I didn’t think their event was going through,” she said.
Events at the Hearthstone will likely continue through the date the business is set to close, but the Buffalo Bridal Association says 35 weddings have been booked at the venue in the next 18 to 24 months.
Anthony Antonucci had his wedding reception booked at the Hearthstone for July.
“What do we do? I mean, we’re lucky enough that our wedding is five months away, so it gives us a little bit of time to find another place,” he said. “They’re being very helpful and, you know, giving people vendors names’, phone numbers to try to accommodate them and finding other places to have their events. But there are no answers of where’s everyone’s money.”
Melson believes most deposits will soon be returned.
“The intent is that everybody who has a deposit will be refunded,” she said. “We’re going to try to do right by all of the people who have honored us with having so many events here.”
News 4 reached out to the attorney representing Hearthstone for more information about the closure and returning deposits to customers, but he has not returned our phone calls.