PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A backlash is mounting against Moxie Blue Salon, with locations in Old City Philadelphia and Marlton, New Jersey.
The owners abruptly shut their doors on Christmas Day and gave no warning to employees they would be out of a job.
"Just the fact that it was on Christmas Day, and when you're trying to enjoy it with your family, you get this news that's like, so devastating and out of nowhere," said stylist Valerie Juliano.
According to the email sent to employees by salon owners Licha and Danny McLennan, the salon closed due to the pandemic and it "made us unable to continue this business economically."
"That was definitely a shock, it's sad," said stylist Amanda Heier. "I think the most heartbreaking thing is to know that I will never work with those employees all at once again."
The sudden closure sparked a backlash online after the owners quickly took down the salon's website and social media accounts. Customer Heather Gabriel of Marlton said she bought $100 in gift cards a day before Christmas Eve and is now disputing the charge with her bank.
"Obviously they were trying to get money and take the clients' money and then just take off," said Gabriel. "I'm angry, I'm disappointed."
But some stylists are jumping to the McLennan's defense, stating they invested in the growth of their employees and that they're working on refunding the gift cards.
"They sold their home and I know that and they tried their best to keep Moxie alive, but at the end of the day they couldn't and yes, it does stink how it all happened and went down," said Heier. "I just can't imagine the pain that they must be feeling and what they lost is far greater than what us stylists have lost."
Juliano said one of the most devastating aspects of the abrupt closure is that stylists were not given the contact information for their clients.
"It's just scary the fact that we don't have a job and we have to now fight with unemployment to see if we can get on that and all the factors around the board with COVID," said Juliano.
Juliano said some clients don't have social media and she hopes stylists will be able to receive their contact information from the salon. She said clients can also reach out to any Moxie Blue stylist online and be put in touch with their hairstylist. She said Instagram is a good way to do so and her handle is valerie_pa.stylist.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General's office would not confirm or deny if there is an investigation into the salon but said anyone who feels harmed by the salon's actions should submit a complaint: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/submit-a-complaint/consumer-complaint/
The New Jersey Attorney General's office confirmed one complaint had been filed against the salon for not refunding a gift card.
A spokesperson said, "As a general matter, the Division of Consumer Affairs encourages New Jersey consumers to promptly use any gift cards or store credit they receive, as gift certificates, cards, or store credit issued by sellers that suddenly close or declare bankruptcy may have no value. Consumers who do not use their gift cards before a store's closure may be able to file a claim against the business or a bankruptcy estate, but it is difficult to know whether or how much they might recover from such a claim."