UPDATE: This story now reflects the payroll help of Ambassador Enterprises.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — After nearly a century in business in northeast Indiana, Shindigz closed up operation Wednesday, at least temporarily, multiple employees confirmed to WANE 15.
A former employee told WANE 15 that Shindigz owner Shep Moyle called employees into a meeting at 9 a.m. to break the news. The owner said he and his wife paid the employees previous paychecks out of their own pockets and will be paying out of their pockets for their last paycheck next week.
WANE 15 also received an email to a former Shindigz employee confirming the closure. Management blamed the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the business and an unforeseen financing issue with its bank.
Founded in 1926, Shindigz was a leading online and catalog retailer of party supplies, decorations and favors. It had more than 23,000 items for sale across three platforms, and shipped throughout the United States and more than 50 foreign countries.
Back in August 2018, the company announced it purchased Harrison Place, a five-story, 33,000-square-foot historic building at the southeast corner of Wayne and Harrison streets in downtown Fort Wayne. The building was renamed Shindigz Place shortly after moving in May 2019.
Shindigz had maintained its manufacturing and fulfillment operations in South Whitley. The former employee told WANE 15 employees were told the South Whitley plant will stay in production through Friday to fulfill as many orders as possible.
Shindigz announced Thursday an early holiday gift to its team members from Ambassador Enterprises. Ambassador offered all Shindigz team members their full pay through the end of the year as a philanthropic gift. Team members will be asked to volunteer during the holidays in a variety of organizations and activities to give back to the community instead of working.
“We are so genuinely grateful to Ambassador and the Doden family for this special gift to our team members during the holidays,” Shep and Wendy Moyle, owners of Shindigz. “This is the true spirit of the Christmas season and shows once again how special Fort Wayne is. We believe in Christmas miracles, and this gift from Ambassador to our team and the community is truly a special gift.“
Shindigz will continue its temporary closure through the New Year and is accepting orders for shipment in January.
The City of Fort Wayne, Downtown Improvement District, Greater Fort Wayne, The Better Business Bureau and the Indiana State Department of Workforce Development have been contacted but none have heard about the closure.