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Ashley licensee closing store in West Melbourne, Fla.

WEST MELBOURNE, Fla. — An Ashley Furniture HomeStore is going out of business here, with the licensee blaming its supplier of favoring corporate-owned stores, while a source working on the liquidation sale says the dealer's credit line was cut off.

A report by Gannett's Florida Today said liquidator Deere Park Associates has been operating the store on West New Haven Avenue since early July and is working with Ashley to make good on hundreds of orders.

The store was owned by 4-S Corp, led by Rich Stevens, who once operated a network of furniture stores in the area, the story said. He's currently in the process of closing his last furniture store - a Basset Furniture Direct showroom also in Melbourne.

According to the story, Stevens said Ashley was too slow to ship furniture to "franchisees," directing goods to corporate stores instead.

But Chris McFarland, the acting store manager Deere Park brought in, told Florida Today that Ashley put a stop on Stevens' credit line and should not have continued taking customers' orders.

McFarland also said the store has since been able to resolve 715 of 830 unfulfilled orders.

In an email, Ashley spokesperson Ruthie Bautista said the company "is acting in the best interest of the Ashley HomeStore customers." Ashley executives declined to offer further comment.

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