While I am one of the few who managed to get out with the shirt on my back, there were so many that did not. What happened to these people was mean, pre-planned, and hurtful. Kim Flowers who owned 2 John Robert Powers franchises cajoled so many people to increase their contracts to long term contracts (3-5 years) and lifetime memberships at the average cost of 3 to 7 thousand dollars each. Without warning, the doors were locked, the phones were turned off, the contracts were (obviously) unfulfilled, reputations were harmed, and people were left asking themselves, "What can I do?" This happened to the employees as well.
While memberships were upped and extended, her employees' paychecks were bouncing. This in turn caused a ripple effect; causing them to bounce their rent checks, power and phone payments, car payments, and the list goes on.
My assertion that this was pre-planned is because of the events leading up to the closure, 20 years of business experience, and experience salvaging a business that was close to a million dollars in debt. Believe me, when there is a cash flow crisis, it is months in the making. Doors are simply not shut overnight. A majority of creditors are willing to work out something with the debtors in an effort to salvage what they can before any plug is pulled. I was told by some of the teachers that their paychecks had bounced on a number of occasions before. Many months before. When they saw the memberships increase, they were under the guise that everything was picking up and the financial woes were done. Little did they know that the money made was being funneled to Vegas to start a new facility (owned by Ms. Flowers) that was going into direct competition with JRP. Pre-planned and unethical to boot. This is so wrong!
Poor accounting and bad management trashed the reputation of the teachers and the JRP franchise as a whole. The people who taught there (JRP Reno specifically) were there because they loved doing what they were doing. For most, it was a part time job, but for others, it was full time and they were hurt the most.
The John Robert Powers school is a great concept that has work well and stood the test of time. The whole one-stop shopping idea is what appealed to me the most. In my community, there simply wasn't a place where dance, voice, improve, acting, poise and image was offered on a consistent basis. All we had available was soccer. Let's face it~ not every kid (or parent) gets turned on by soccer.
We didn't sign up because we were convinced our kids were incredibly talented; we weren't pimping our kids for stardom. We went because it was something that everyone benefitted from. The kids enjoyed their classes, their friends, showcasing what they learned, and we enjoyed a lunch date while knowing the kids were in a good place. Now it is all ruined.
As I understand, there is a class action lawsuit in the works, which is in order. Unless of course the owner simply honors the contracts, or refunds the money. Will either one happen? Not likely. The Vegas victims have more recourse that the Reno victims. By virtue of location, they can go to the new Kim Flowers Talent Development Agency and demand that their contracts be filled through the new facility. What are the people in Reno supposed to do? What is their recourse? I have suggested to as many people as I could to contact their teachers to see if they could get something going privately, but that doesn't necessarily work well for those who entered into lifetime contracts. The teachers need to get paid too.
Kim Flowers, if you're reading this, or if anyone affiliated with Kim Flowers is reading this, I encourage you to do the right thing. If you do nothing, you are further trashing your reputation. The dust will eventually settle, but the money that you STOLE from these people will eat at you like a nasty sore. The Bible states that deeds, good or bad, are paid in kind, tenfold. I do not know the exact amount of money that was swindled from these people, but I'm sure your accountant can provide you with the numbers. Multiply it by TEN, and then add more for the deliberate, pre-planned aspect of this deed. That is a lot of money and a lot of karma. I wouldn't want that kind of thing hanging over my head. Somehow, I don't think you do either.