Carolina Farmhouse/Cecil Mack Co - Utt-Grubb - BANKRUPTCY FILED

Well folks it happened as we had pretty much knew was going to happen.  The Utt-Grubbs have filed personal bankruptcy!

I have had a good 15 - 20 emails & several blog comments asking about status.  Here is the email from the FORMER attorney -

All -
I wanted to provide you an update as soon as possible. I understand and appreciate your frustration with the process, particularly as I have not been authorized by my clients to provide any additional information or updates recently.
I am now able to communicate the following:
  • The Utt-Grubbs have terminated my representation of them in this matter. All future contacts regarding Carolina Farmhouse, Cecil Mack, or the Utt-Grubbs, personally, should be addressed to Stephanie Osborne-Rogers.
    • Her contacting information is 
Ms Stephanie Osborne-Rogers 
Northern Blue LLP 
1414 Raleigh Rd., Suite 435
P.O. Box 2208 
Chapel Hill, NC 27515 
Phone: 919-968-4441
 Fax: 919-942-6603 -

On September 10, 2013, the Utt-Grubbs filed for personal bankruptcy in the Middle District of NC Federal Bankruptcy Court.
  • The assigned Bankruptcy Trustee is Sara Conti
    • Her contact information is:
Sara A. Conti
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Middle District of North Carolina
Durham Division
Box 939
Carrboro, NC 27510
Phone: (919)967-3375

I will place this notice on my website on the Carolina Farmhouse page. I will leave the website and information in place until September 30, at which point I will remove the page from my website.
  • I have been listed as a Creditor of the Utt-Grubbs' in their bankruptcy proceeding, as such I am very limited in what information I can provide at this time. Between my role as a Creditor and as a former attorney for the Utt-Grubbs, I am extremely limited in what I can share or disclose in this matter. Generally, I will direct any inquiries to Ms. Osborne-Rogers.
  • I am able to advise you that, because the Utt-Grubbs have filed for Federal Bankruptcy Protection, you are very limited in your rights to collect on the debt(s) owed to you. You should consult with an attorney to understand your rights and responsibilities as a potential Creditor and/or the "priority" of your claim.
I am, on a personal level, so sorry for the way this has turned out. Best wishes and good luck to all of you.

I had sent an email to John letting him know that I heard about the bankruptcy.  I had also sent one the day prior letting him know I had seen their website was down along with their facebook & twitter pages for Cecil Mack.  John emailed me back letting me know he was putting the above together to send out.  He was asked by the Utt-Grubbs not to provide any updates or information for a while now.  He was their former attorney so he is prohibited from saying much other than what is in the above update.  Please know that if you have questions he's willing to answer them if he can. 

I emailed the new attorney for the bankruptcy and received an email with a letter back just a few minutes ago.  The content of the letter is -

RE: Utt-Grubb d/b/a Carolina Farmhouse Bankruptcy Case 13-81144

 On September 10,2013, Kelly and Sam Utt-Grubb, d/b/a! Carolina Farmhouse (the

"Debtors") filed a petition for relief under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. I represent the

Debtors in their bankruptcy case, which is pending in the Middle District of North Carolina,

Durham Division. Sara Conti has been appointed the interim trustee in the case.

As attorney for the Debtors, I am not aware of any assets in this case that will be

administered by the trustee, and believe that it is unlikely that creditors will receive any

distribution in this case. However, this determination is not mine to make. A chief role of the

Trustee in a chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding is to determine if a debtor has assets that can be

Liquidated to pay creditor claims. If the trustee concludes that there are assets that will be

available to pay claims in the Debtors' case, you will receive a notice from the Bankruptcy Court

and instructions on how to file a claim in this case.

Pursuant to §362 of the Bankruptcy Code, the automatic stay immediately went into

effect in the Debtors' case at the time the petition was filed. The automatic stay provides for an

injunction that restricts most creditor actions relative to the Debtors and their property, if such

actions are intended to collect a prepetition debt or obligation. For example, creditors may not

begin or continue judicial proceedings against the Debtors, they cannot take actions to obtain the

Debtors' property, and they cannot take actions to create, perfect or enforce a lien against the

Debtors' property. Additionally, creditors cannot contact the Debtors for the purposes of

enforcing a claim, harassing the Debtors or pressuring the Debtors to satisfy a prepetition

obligation. The Bankruptcy Court takes violations of the automatic stay by creditors very

seriously and monetary sanctions are often imposed on creditors who choose to ignore the

injunction. The protections of the automatic stay apply to the Utt-Grubbs and Carolina

Farmhouse and the property of their bankruptcy estate. I encourage you to contact a bankruptcy

attorney prior to taking any action against the Debtors.

Kelly Utt-Grubb has written a blog recently about her being an entrepreneur.  An entrepreneur (Listeni/ˌɒntrəprəˈnɜr/, a loanword from French) is an individual who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so.

She has created and opened many different business ventures - letterberry (which no longer exists), name counsel,  the creative media people, cecil mack (was under the name Carolina Farmhouse which neither no longer exists), and her newest Thanksforward. 

She & her husband Sam Utt-Grubb had every opportunity with Carolina Farmhouse.  You see they had the chance most of us would love to have had - featured on Extreme Home Makeover in less than a year of starting up their business!!  Orders pouring in...

I am beyond sorry that this is the end result.  I really wanted to see each & every customer get their money back that they were owed. 

I started writing the blog about our situation & I became vocal because I felt there were lots of people out there that just didn't know what their options were.  I then became compassionate because I heard story after story of so many that had been saving for a long time to make this kind of purchase.  It is heartbreaking to know that someone was using wedding money to purchase their first dining room table together, or someone had lost their job and had finally regained themselves, saved the money to celebrate by buying their family a new table....  We are no exception of where the money came from for our pieces...  I mean we were supposed to be getting a table given to us from the Utt-Grubbs program "Farmhouse Families" due to losing our home in a fire.

I wonder how it feels to lay your head down each night knowing that you had your hands wrapped around a successful business that was able to give back in such a big way, but instead you let it slip from your grasp for not managing your business properly....multiple vacations in a year, brand new cars, etc.

Give me one successful running business any day over starting 5 or 6 different business that never become successful enough to provide for my family...

I wholeheartedly believe this was coming down the pipeline for sometime.  I just don't think there was any other solution for the Utt-Grubbs.  I have my thoughts on what was going on over the last several months.

I wish everyone the very best of luck!  If I receive any additional information I will update you here!



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    1. Vacations, new cars, out to eat, movies... There was a commercial client that paid $12000 up front. Can you imagine? We almost did our cabinets for our kitchen with them at a cost of $25k. We didn't/couldn't spend that kind of money. When I spoke to Dan on the phone after receiving their quote to let him we just couldn't do that, it was a battle. I was on the phone forever explaining it just wasn't going to happen, he tried every single way to get me to do them...I felt like he was trying to strong arm me. This was after we had already paid our money upfront for our other pieces. He even tried to use putting the quote together for us against us...saying the cabinet guy worked long & hard on it for us.

      There is so much information that is still hanging out there about how they treated us and others. I wish I could sit in front of the judge on the day they go to meet about the bankruptcy! I'd love to tell our story & bring the story of so many others. I've just already put money into them that I will never get back!!

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    4. I think many of us are in that "hind sight is 20/20" position. The fact that they were so into "giving back", being a small family owned business, and the Extreme Home Makeover (one of my fav shows) drew me right in thinking this was a company built on morals.

  2. Oh well. Saw this coming a mile away after being the 2nd person to complain about their poor customer service on yelp, then witnessing 20+ more complaints pour into yelp and BBB within 6 months. I certainly learned my lesson to do my research on companies before buying big ticket items, and hopefully they learned their lesson that running a business requires prudence & attention to customer service. My wife, 6 week old son, and I count ourselves as lucky that we were able to get a refund. Many aren't so fortunate, and have lost hundreds.

    1. Sean, It's good to see you here. If you get this can you email me at I want to share some information with you. Thanks!!


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