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Gerdt Furniture owners embroiled in $4M court fight

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A family dispute involving the owners of Gerdt Furniture & Interiors Inc. has led to a lawsuit accusing them of owing nearly $4 million in unpaid rent and loans.

Landlord George Gerdt is suing his younger brother, John, and John's wife, Cheryl, in addition to the retail business they operate, in Marion Superior Court.

The lawsuit follows the announced closing in December of the flagship Gerdt Furniture store in Southport, ending a 54-year run for the business. Commercials airing on local television stations say the store is in its final days of a closeout sale, but a salesperson answering the phone at the store said it would be open at least through March.

A Gerdt store in Castleton that opened in 1986 was closed late last year. Gerdt also opened a store along U.S. 36 in Avon in 2006, but closed it in 2009.

According to his complaint, George Gerdt owns the two buildings that housed the furniture stores in Southport and Castleton. He claims Gerdt Furniture & Interiors owes $870,000 in unpaid rent at the Southport location and $580,000 in unpaid rent at the Castleton location.

George Gerdt also says Gerdt Furniture & Interiors defaulted on a $2 million note and owes $408,579 on another loan.

In addition, he accuses John Gerdt of withholding collateral for the two notes, including proceeds from recent “going out of business” sales, the lawsuit says.

Reached by phone, Cheryl Gerdt declined to discuss the lawsuit, saying it’s “a family matter.”

Lynette Gray, a Franklin attorney representing George Gerdt, who resides in Florida, didn't return calls from IBJ seeking comment.

Edward Gerdt, the father of George and John, opened his original Southport store in 1959 after saving enough money to realize his dream of operating his own business. He had been a detective for the city of Indianapolis. The business moved to a bigger Southport store in 1992.

In a statement announcing the closure of the business in December, John Gerdt said, “Gerdt Furniture is a part of the history in Indianapolis and we have loved being a part of so many families’ lives. But there comes a time to move on, and [Cheryl] and I have decided to retire while we can still offer our customers the quality merchandise and service we are known for.”

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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