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Owner of Grand Rapids suit shop addresses concerns following customer complaints

Two customers felt they were getting the run around from the owner of Mel Styles Custom Suits and reached out to 13 ON YOUR SIDE for help.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Some customers are fed up and frustrated with the owner of a suit shop in Grand Rapids.

They felt they were getting the run around and reached out to 13 ON YOUR SIDE for help.

The business is called Mel Styles Custom Suits on Division Avenue. 

Two customers said there was a lack of communication, honesty and professionalism on the part of the owner, Archie Sudue. Sudue said on Friday, Jan. 14 that he could've done better. 

Antwan Billings lives in Chicago, but his wedding is in Grand Rapids. He ordered 11 suits in spring 2020 from Mel Styles, including his own suit for his wedding which was originally scheduled for October 2021.

Billings said Sudue told him the suits would be ready by mid-September and requested Billings pay the full $2,500, which Billings did. But Billings said when September came around, the excuses came as well. 

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Sudue allegedly told Billings he was having problems with UPS and the suits were delivered incorrectly.

"The day before, he told Archie, 'You do realize my wedding is tomorrow, right?' Archie was telling him he would get him the suits. Obviously, that didn't happen in time for the wedding," said Jammie Cook, Billings' godmother. 

Billings had to hold a smaller ceremony in October because of COVID-19, so he pushed the big wedding to April 2022. Billings said Sudue told him the suits would be ready in November, but when they weren't ready again, Billings just wanted a refund which Sudue agreed to give, yet Billings still hasn't received.

Before reaching out to 13 ON YOUR SIDE, Billings hadn't been able to get ahold of Sudue since the week of Christmas.

"One, he's not being professional," Cook said. "He's not a man of his word. He's not providing services and goods after they're paid for. I'm afraid other people are going to continue to become customers and have money taken from them and not be provided goods and services."

One of those customers was Julienn Williams of Kentwood, who paid $350 for his suit and who claims Sudue gave him the run around up until a week before his wedding. 

When he showed up for his fitting, his suit was all wrong. 

"I went over to the swatch I looked through earlier and I found the exact one I picked. I held it up to him and I said, 'These are not the same at all. These have black in it and it's not part of our color scheme,'" Williams said. 

Fed up, Williams got another suit somewhere else at the last minute and demanded a refund, which Sudue gave him, despite having a no cash refund policy.

"He was sorry for not communicating things about shipping, but he never apologized for giving me the wrong suit," Williams said. "He never apologized for the two times we set appointments and he didn't show up or closed early." 

"First, I want to take responsibility and accountability for having the product late," Sudue said when questioned at his shop on Friday. "There are some things I'm still learning as a small business owner and there are things I don't have control over as a business owner, but also when it comes to communication, I'm learning to communicate disappointment with my customers." 

Sudue said he has dealt with a continual shortage, a vendor problem and missing or delayed products from UPS and FedEx.

He's done more than 200 successful weddings with the exception of a few customers.

Sudue said he does feel horrible for his customers who had to go through trouble before their big day. 

He admitted that Billings was entitled to have his suit by his original wedding date of October 2021. 

"I told him I'm going to change my refund policy but with the new rules with Cash App, I can't be sending money via this app that's coming with different tax issues right now," Sudue said in reference to owing Billings' refund. 

He added that Billings' suits are on the way and will be in by a week or two.

After 13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke with Sudue on Friday, Sudue called Billings and told him he's looking to make him refund payments starting next month, although Sudue told 13 ON YOUR SIDE that he doesn't owe any of his customers money. 

Billings said he's not sure if he can take Sudue's word, but will see what the outcome is. 

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