By Claire Reilly
Following news last week that several major suppliers and retailers have parted ways with United Warranties, a local Australian warranty provider, Current.com.au can reveal that another business run by the company’s owner, Vern Rickman, has been forced to close.
While not mentioned on the company’s website or LinkedIn profile, Vern Rickman is registered as the owner of the “United Global Warranties” trademark with the Australian Government body, Intellectual Property Australia. United Warranties is also known by the names United Electrical Engineering Pty Ltd and U-NITED Warranties Pty Ltd.
Rickman is also listed as the owner of the restaurant Archies on the Creek, located in the small town of Archies Creek, south east of Melbourne. While the business is not directly affiliated with United Warranties, the restaurant closed its doors on 27 May, using its Facebook page to announce that it would be “closing for the rest of 2012, to ensure when we reopen in the 2013 we can support and demonstrate our creative flare of food and wonderful service to our amazing customers”.
Calls to Archies on the Creek have gone unanswered, however a recorded message informs callers that, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, the venue is now closed” and that all communications should be directed to Vern Rickman. The restaurant's website is also down.
In addition, emails to the restaurant are returned with an auto-reply message from Vern and Debi Rickman stating that, “Due to economic hardship as a result of the soft market, Archies on the Creek has had to make a tough decision to close down”.
It is unclear if the closure of the restaurant is at all related to the situation at United Warranties.
In a June 2011 article printed in The Age, Rickman indicated that the restaurant – built on the site of his former office – was a significant project, both personally and financially.
“I said to the missus...I said ‘look you know I wouldn't mind turning this into a bit of a cafe and basically a wine bar’,” Rickman told The Age.
“She said ‘how much do you want to spend?’ I said ‘oh $100,000’ and I said it will take me six weeks. I said ‘Deb I'll tell you what, this has sort of grown into its own creature, I just can't stop right now. For every dollar I'll spend here [on the restaurant] I'll spend $2 on your house if you can live with that.
“So after four-and-a-quarter years I owed her $16 million which of course she never expects,” he said in 2011.
The Age article was ostensibly about another of Rickman’s business ventures – a site-specific TV service installed into petrol bowsers, known as PumpTV, which has offices in Sydney and Melbourne and plans to “roll out over 400 petrol stations with more than 4,800 High Definition LCD TVs nationally” by this year.
While Rickman is not listed as a member of the PumpTV management on the company’s website, United Warranties’ national sales director, Teyghan Stadelbauer, is listed as the general manager of the company, while Byankah Stadelbauer is listed as the Victorian sales manager. Current.com.au understands that these two women are daughters of Vern Rickman.
Calls placed to PumpTV’s head office in Sydney went unanswered today. Current.com.au has also contacted Vern Rickman for comment on the future of United Warranties