MERIDEN — A large public auction sign on the front lawn of an independent appliance store is adversely impacting business, said the shop owner who wants to purchase the property.
Jim Moran, owner of Moran’s TV Appliance on West Main Street, said the sign, which has been on and off the property for nearly a year, is a “death sentence” for any business and has customers questioning the store’s longevity.
“They could do this without showing a sign,” said Moran, who has been in business for 53 years.
Moran was the only bidder at a June public auction on the property, which went into foreclosure soon after its owner died nearly two years ago. The trustee, June M. Kupfer, could not be reached for comment and Apple Valley Bank & Trust, now New England Bank, has a lis pendens, a notice of a pending action, on the mortgage. City tax records show the owner’s estate has nearly $50,000 in outstanding taxes.
Another auction is set for Sept. 6
“The public notices — on the property and in the newspaper — are done by the committee who is selected by the court to oversee and run the foreclosure,” said City Attorney Debbie Moore. “It is beyond the city’s control ... because it is the court that orders them and they are routine in a foreclosure.”
The property is listed for sale at $280,000. Moran’s June bid covered the back taxes, he said.
A recent inspection found potential underground metal on the site. Moran estimates it will cost between $60,000 to $80,000 to clean up.
“There was no else to bid,” Moran said. “The judge and the estate didn’t like that.”
Moran’s bid was approved by the committee selected by the court but rejected by the judge and a new auction date was set.
“His bid was significantly lower than the appraised value of the property and the bank rejected his bid,” said Juliet Burdelski, the city’s economic development director. “I am ready and willing to help him relocate, if that is what he decides that he wants to do. However, it would probably be more in his interest to put in a bid at the September auction that is closer to the appraised value and he could own the property and stay in the current location. I have talked to him as have other city staff and elected officials.”
Moran has considered moving his appliance store to Southington but he can’t move to a strip plaza because of his delivery trucks. He said he’s grown comfortable at his location of 18 years and lives a short walk away. He plans to attend the next auction and rebid.
“This has been a nightmare,” he said.