Back in March 2015, Peterson Industries used its Facebook page to announce to the world that it was going out of business.
At the same time, the Smith Center, Kan.-based RV maker shut down its website and set up an automated phone message saying that the company had discontinued operations and that no additional information was available.
I remember thinking at the time how incredibly catty I thought Peterson’s response was, especially to its dealers. To me, it seemed equivalent to ending a meaningful romantic relationship via a text message.
Still, Peterson was practically chatty compared with EverGreen RV, which abruptly closed its doors last Friday with no apparent advance notice to anyone – dealers, suppliers or consumers. And no follow-up notice that might offer some kind of insights on why it closed or what, if anything, it can do for the people who supported it as a business partner or faithful customer.
Instead, EverGreen simply went dark.
With no information coming from EverGreen, rumors about the company spread like wildfire and there was no way of knowing what was true and what was not.
Now, I can understand that many things were probably still unresolved when the company’s ownership made the decision to shut down. I can understand that making any kind of announcement was going to potentially divert the management’s attention from finding a buyer or attempting to wind down operations in an orderly fashion. I also can understand that making an announcement about shuttering operations would be deeply embarrassing for the company’s owners and top management.
But still, doesn’t a company owe it to its partners, its suppliers and the people who buy its not inexpensive products if it decides, for whatever reason, that it can no longer remain in business? I’m honestly asking the question: Is there ever a good reason, (or maybe a justifiable reason), for a business to not give some kind of advance notice prior to ceasing operations?