Complaints filed against local business owner

By Megan R. Harrell

STAR STAFF
mharrell@starhq.com

   A number of civil complaints have been filed against the former owner of a local business. The Elizabethton Police Department and Sullivan County Civil Court have confirmed reports implicating Matthew Andes, former owner of Vision Mart, 500 N. Pine St., Elizabethton.
   The reports accuse Andes of collecting money from customers for eyeglasses, then closing his business without warning. Reports state customers paid several hundred dollars in advance for eyeglasses they never received.
   Wanda Young, Blountville, says she plans on filing a civil complaint against Andes with the EPD. Young's receipts show she paid Andes $200 Aug. 24 for two pairs of eyeglasses. Young said Andes told her he would call her when her glasses were ready, but she never received a phone call.
   Two weeks after she placed her eyeglasses order, Young discovered Vision Mart was no longer in business. She stated she has made repeated attempts to contact Andes but has been unsuccessful.
   "I am a widow, and I do not have $200 to give away, and it really upsets me," Young said. "I do not know how he could willingly do this knowing that he was not going to give me my merchandise."
   Young also observed that Andes worked alone on the three occasions she went to his offices. "He was really friendly, and he sets up a nice office," Young said.
   Young said she does not want to see Andes go to jail but would like to receive the eyeglasses she paid for in August. "I am very disappointed in him as a person," Young said. "I am just concerned he might move someplace else and do the same thing."
   Ethel Shoun, Elizabethton, filed a civil complaint against Andes Aug. 29. Shoun told the EPD she had purchased two pairs of glasses from Vision Mart in July but never received them. When she went to the place of business, it had been vacated. Shoun told officers she tried to contact Andes numerous times in order to collect her $148 worth of merchandise.
   Andes also sold under the business name of Eye Works in Blountville before opening Vision Mart in Elizabethton this past year, according to police documents.
   The Carter County Clerk's Office has no record of Andes ever filing for a business license. There is no business license on record in Carter County for Vision Mart or Eye Works.
   Civil complaints filed in Sullivan County from Eye Works' customers, Blountville, are similar to those described by Young and Shoun. Washington Mutual Corporation, Cooper Chiropractics, and Bob Light each filed civil complaints against Andes.
   The Better Business Bureau of Greater East Tennessee has also received several complaints against Andes. Bureau officials could not release details of the complaints but confirmed they had received several and had failed to locate Andes. Letters sent from the bureau to Andes' last known address, 1126 Windsor Ave., Bristol have all been returned.
   The Star was unable to contact Andes for comment.