Homebuilder, ministry file for bankruptcy protection

A high-end homebuilder and a west Charlotte ministry have filed for bankruptcy protection, court documents show.

Classic Southern Homes Inc., a builder located near Randolph and Wendover roads, filed Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The company, established in 1998, builds and renovates homes “for the discriminating client,” according to its Web site. The site advertises work on high-end homes in some of the city's most exclusive neighborhoods, such as Myers Park.

Classic Southern Homes owes money to more than 50 creditors and has debts between $1 million and $10 million, court documents show.

A message at the company's phone number referred questions to its attorney, Burton Shuford. Shuford could not immediately be reached for comment.

A Gift of Love Ministry Inc., located near Freedom Drive, also filed Thursday. The ministry first filed for bankruptcy protection in March, but the case was dismissed after its attorney withdrew. Its new attorney, Martin Hunter, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Among other things, A Gift of Love has operated a food ministry, serving 200 to 300 local residents in need. It has experienced trouble in the past, including a 2004 break-in in which food for the ministry's Thanksgiving meal was stolen, a 2004 newspaper article reported.

According to the court filing, the ministry owes money to between one and 49 creditors and has debts from $100,000 to $500,000.

Kirsten Valle

IKEA names manager for Charlotte store

IKEA has named company veteran Richard Castanon the manager of its Charlotte store, which is set to open in the spring.

Castanon began his career with the Swedish home furnishings giant in 1991, managing the furniture showroom at its store in Burbank, Calif. In recent years, he's led teams responsible for outfitting and launching IKEA stores in six cities across the country, most recently in Brooklyn, N.Y., earlier this year. A California native, he moved to Charlotte about six weeks ago and has been working with the store's upper management to recruit and train department managers and, eventually, other employees.

The 356,000-square-foot blue-and-yellow building, IKEA's first store in the Carolinas and 36th nationwide, is now under construction next to Interstate 85 in University City. When finished, it will employ 400 people and include 50 room settings, three complete model homes, a supervised children's play area and a 350-seat restaurant serving Swedish and American foods.

Jen Aronoff