On September 24, 2010, Sofia registered the trade name 123Mountain utilizing the Colorado Secretary of State

Anna Sofia and Olivier “Oliver” Goumas (picture: Facebook)

That wintertime in the Snowsports Industries America trade show, Olivier came across Greg Gantzer, a outside activities and travel marketer whom has SkiSite.com and designs web sites for the industry. Gantzer claims they quickly finalized a contract to create 123Mountain’s internet site. By belated might, nevertheless, Olivier became testy if the web site, having its massive stock of 50,000 services and products, had not been yet complete. In a message, Olivier penned that when Gantzer took until June 6 to finish, he’d be compensated only 75 per cent of their estimate for the work. “After June 6, you might be a tale,” he included.

“I think we might be having issues with this discussion as a result of countries and language,” Gantzer wrote back a contact he showed to outdoors. “I’d really love to discuss this that we comprehend. to you regarding the phone so”

Alternatively, Olivier changed the password on their host, effortlessly using control over Gantzer’s progress up to that particular date. “Your are fired,” Olivier published in their slapdash English. Gantzer sued within the Summit County, Ohio, court, alleging breach of agreement, unjust enrichment, and fraudulence, among other fees. Olivier supplied a hodgepodge of defenses, countering that Gantzer had triggered damages “in excess of $500,000.” In January 2014, a judge decided in Gantzer’s benefit and awarded him $16,564. Gantzer has yet to see some of the cash.

“My hope of gathering with this guy is near to zero,” he claims now. “Our hope is make a move to make certain that they can not any longer tear individuals down.”

In belated 2012, the Goumases started an extra store that is 123Mountain the Village at Copper Mountain Resort. In a write-up published when you look at the regional paper Summit everyday, Sofia Goumas declared, “We start at where REI ends.” She explained which they would concentrate on high-end brands, including European gear, and that clients could expect individualized service. “You’re planning to get certainly one of us exactly in danger, and we’re planning to you will need to allow you to in whatever way that individuals can.”

Olivier presumably countered negative feedback by posting reviews that are positive of their shops under both their genuine title as well as the handle latin dating “Mountainblack,” in accordance with one former worker. Bing and Twitter reviews seem to be swamped by a large number of positive ranks from bots—fictitious pages that share a sequence that is identical of and reviews.

Locals in Lakewood and Copper Mountain remember Sofia spending her days chain-smoking cigarettes while Olivier fueled up with glass after cup espresso. Relating to employees that are former the couple sporadically made their stores membership-only and created brand new guidelines to exclude client visits, preferring to pay attention to online clients.

Workers weren’t pleased with the Goumases either.

Daniel Fluharty started working during the Lakewood store maybe not very long after it started in belated 2011 and had been in charge of shipping and packaging purchases and answering customers online. He quickly became concerned with the true quantity of consumer complaints. 1 day, an irate client revealed up during the shop with legal counsel and stated that a coat he covered had never delivered. Fluharty had been disrupted sufficient because of the incident he quit after four months. Their last paycheck, he claims, have been docked $350 for a ski pass he thought Olivier had fond of him as an advantage.

In 2014, another worker, Bogdan Peleszynski, won a standard judgment up against the few him $1,082.79 once they did not spend for their last fourteen days of work. (Goumas denied the claim in e-mails and court filings, arguing that the check ended up being lost into the mail, and agreed to deliver Peleszynski a brand new check minus a $50 termination cost.)

Nevertheless, the Goumases had built-into the Summit County ski community. Their two daughters joined up with Team Summit, a youth that is nonprofit program that 123Mountain sponsored with $10,000 yearly payments. The business logo design showed up on team jackets and also the united group web site, however the relationship soured in 2014, relating to present and previous workers of Team Summit. Following the 2014–15 coats were printed, Goumas neglected to spend their sponsorship cash or their daughters’ enrollment fees.

Rather, Goumas sent Team Summit a hefty bill for neglecting to market 123Mountain weekly on Twitter, Twitter, and YouTube—as stipulated in a agreement Goumas had penned and Team Summit’s professional manager had finalized. Both events dropped their claims against one another in belated 2014. Team Summit’s bylaws permitted it to revoke subscriptions with or without cause and, in January 2015, the executive board voted to kick the Goumases’ daughters from the group.

Throughout the year that is past 123Mountain’s luck appears to have go out.

In very early 2015, Copper Mountain started eviction procedures resistant to the store as a result of customer complaints and rent that is late but dropped the lawsuit following the couple consented to end their rent, based on Gavin Malia, development supervisor for Resort Ventures western, Copper Mountain’s property administration company. The few will be sued for more than a lot of dollars allegedly owed into the Copper hill Resort Association for dues that supported trash pickup, recycling, and fire solution. The couple’s brand new outpost in downtown Frisco, which exposed in June, ended up being shuttered within the 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr., weekend, one of several biggest purchase weekends of the year. An indicator from the entry way detailing the shop hours checks out: “Opening hour may differ whenever we are skiing or otherwise not. General rule significantly less than 3″ no modifications. 4″-5″ at the least hour wait. 6″ and above until legs have exhausted.”

Their Frisco landlord, Larry Feldman, states they will haven’t compensated their $4,500 rent that is monthly December or January. The Goumases, he claims, argued these were withholding it due to issues with the illumination and carpeting. Also they kept passing him bad checks, and he plans to evict them before they quit paying, Feldman says. “I’ve thought about securing up their product,” he states. The initial Lakewood store closed sometime before Christmas, based on locals, therefore the Goumases place their $500,000 home up for rent on January 15.

If there’s a lesson that customers can study on the saga that is 123Mountain it is so it’s always worth double-checking the qualifications of unfamiliar organizations online before handing over a credit card quantity. In place of relying exclusively on a single review web web web site, such as for instance Yelp, perform a search that is general customer complaints that may make you a troubling comment thread in discussion boards. Bank card protections would be the tool consumers that are strongest have actually whenever things go south, so don’t be lured into giving checks or Bitcoin payments to out-of-state companies. Attempting to recoup a few hundred dollars through the legal system is not likely to achieve success and barely well well worth enough time. Shops can invariably conceal behind the print that is fine and consumer security agencies usually takes years to construct an instance strong adequate to nail perhaps the many egregious scammers. Today, 123Mountain’s items are nevertheless listed on Bing Buying, which provides the shop three-and-a-half stars. And there’s little stopping them from showing up once more elsewhere with a brand new title and a clean slate.

In terms of Sara Benson, she finished up buying her tent from REI. Leigh Attwood cancelled their purchase with 123Mountain, disputed the $123.60 cost on their card to Visa, and reported to Moose Knuckles concerning the coat fiasco. The business told him which they were alert to the complaints and offered him the coat at 50 per cent down. It found its way to early January, and Attwood really really loves it. “I spared $450 within the end,” he says.