The abrupt closure of a local home remodeling firm has left clients and subcontractors searching for answers – and wondering what will become of their money.
Henrico-based Fabling Built ceased operations earlier this month, according to an email the company sent to clients obtained by BizSense.
Run by married couple Casey and Adrienne Fabling, the roughly 7-year-old firm offered residential construction services, including kitchen, bedroom, basement and attic additions and remodels, per its website.
The March 15 email, signed by Casey Fabling, stated that the company was immediately shutting down.
“Due to financial difficulties, we have made the difficult decision to close our business,” Fabling stated in the email. The letter did not provide detail regarding those difficulties.
The letter also laid out steps on how clients could potentially transfer building permits to another contractor in an effort to keep their renovations going.
“We understand that your home is under renovation and want to assure you that we will do everything in our power to make sure your project is completed. You have our commitment to this,” Fabling said.
The Fablings did not respond to calls and emails sent seeking comment by press time.
The company’s office at 3823 Gaskins Road had been largely emptied as of Tuesday afternoon, with neighbors saying the company began moving out this month.
In the days after the email was sent, some clients promptly sought legal recourse. Between March 17 and 20, four individuals filed warrants in debt against Fabling in Henrico County General District Court, claiming that they were owed money due to a contract being violated.
One Fabling client, who asked to remain anonymous, told BizSense they engaged Fabling last summer for a home addition and signed a contract in the fall. Over six months and after paying Fabling close to $50,000, the client said they never received a timeline on when construction on their project would begin.
“My project never started. Nobody (at Fabling) would ever give me any sort of timeline,” the client said.
One of the warrants in debt on file with the court showed claims a client is owed $24,000.
For Oscar Torres, owner of Manakin-based hardscaping firm Lone Star Masonry who’d worked as a subcontractor on Fabling projects, cracks in Fabling Built’s business began showing last year.
Torres said he’d done a handful of projects for Fabling beginning in late 2021 but claims that last summer Fabling stopped paying Lone Star’s invoices.
When that happened, Torres said he decided he’d wrap up work on his remaining projects with Fabling Built and stopped working with the firm after that.
“I didn’t want to leave him stranded because I knew he had projects pending. We did our last projects in December (2022), and now he still owes us $160,000,” Torres said.
“We wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and help him grow. We had some capital to throw at projects and I expected this money to come back, but it never did.…I wish we didn’t help him out,” Torres said.
At least one other local contractor is picking up jobs from Fabling Built’s sudden closure by trying to finish jobs for some of Fabling’s clients.
Kwan Wongvian, whose Henrico-based firm Coastal Contracting offers similar services, said her company has already picked up the contracts of nearly 10 of Fabling’s projects for things like kitchen renovations and attic finishes. She said they range in cost from $10,000 to over $300,000.
“They’re all residential and very large,” Wongvian said. “And they’re continuing to come in.”
Wongvian said over the 20-plus years she’s been contracting in the Richmond region, she’s built connections with plenty of subcontractors and clients, so when word of Fabling Built’s closure began to spread about two weeks ago, her email inbox began to fill with folks looking for help.
“I just thought the clients needed help,” Wongvian said. “There’s some that can’t sleep at night.”
Coastal has also hired one of Fabling Built’s former salespeople, Wongvian said. It’s unclear how many full-time employees Fabling had at the time of its closure.
As the fight for funds continues, the anonymous client said they’re worried Fabling may file for bankruptcy, making it even more difficult for clients to claw back their money.
“I’m anticipating seeing none of my money back,” the source said. “(Fabling filing bankruptcy) is absolutely what I’m anticipating.”
There were no bankruptcy court filings involving Fabling Built as of Tuesday afternoon, according to online court records.
The first warrant in debt hearing against Fabling Built is scheduled for a court hearing on April 14.