A Braddon day spa has “permanently closed” only weeks after it was selling gift vouchers and taking bookings, leaving customers with no idea if they’ll get their money back.
Adytum opened in late October 2021 within a 200-square-metre sanctum in the Branx Building on Lonsdale Street. It was the brainchild of Renée Douros.*
In 2020, Renée launched a personal wellness brand under the name Adytum using a range of organic products.
The shopfront took this a step further with a full-service day spa, ‘mindfulness lounge’, bathhouse with traditional hot-rock sauna, Japanese Oak mineral bath, and a first for the city – a ‘cold pail shower’ – which pours a bucket of water directly onto you for a ‘waterfall effect’.
An ‘Elixir Bar’ served a range of herbal teas, cold-pressed juices, and other plant-based edibles, while the ‘Apothecary Lab’ offered organic candles, teas, soaks, oils and incense.
Last week, a note was stuck to the front door advising that “Adytum has ceased trading”, with enquiries to be directed to Worrells, an insolvency and turnaround practitioner.
All its social media pages have also been deleted and the website has been stripped of content save for a notice that Adytum is “permanently closed”.
“It is with sadness that we announce that Adytum is permanently closed,” it reads.
“A culmination of external factors have placed unsustainable financial pressure on the business, making it impossible to continue trade. These pressures include exorbitant rental rates, rising interest rates, increases in labour costs and ongoing skilled staff shortages, increases in supplier prices, a decline in consumer spending on leisure services and an overall downturn in trade.
“We wish to thank the Canberra community for their support of Adytum since opening our doors in October 2021 … This is a devastating outcome for all of us and we hope that our tranquil oasis can be reimagined and enjoyed by another small Canberra business, and their customers, in the not-too-distant future.”
It’s sudden news from a company that, according to one anonymous member of the Canberra Reddit page, was continuing to sell gift vouchers as recently as two weeks ago.
Another anonymous customer tells Region she and her partner received a couples package voucher in 2021, but when they tried to book, that service was not available for 12 months.
“That date rolled around and then they cancelled due to not having staff available for the package because it was too long for them to do,” the customer says.
“They offered another date six to eight months later or offered us to come in two separate times to complete the package.”
Another customer tells Region she received “a voucher for my birthday a couple of years ago and haven’t been able to use it”.
“And now I’m not sure I’ll be able to use it.”
According to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), “If you have a gift card from an insolvent company or paid them a deposit using a credit card, you may have chargeback rights”.
However, under ASIC’s rules on the order in which an insolvent business’s debts must be paid, consumers fall near the bottom in a category called ‘unsecured creditors’.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says, “Unsecured creditors are only repaid after secured creditors, such as the business’s bank and major suppliers, are repaid and after priority unsecured creditors, such as employees, are repaid.
“This means consumers may only get some of their money back or nothing at all.”
The ACCC says, “If you need to resolve a problem with an insolvent business, your first step is to contact the administrator to explain the problem”. If the administrator won’t help you, contact ASIC on 1300 300 630.
Renée Douros and Worrells were contacted for comment.
*Amended February 11, removing reference to Sugar Deli, The Floral Society and indoor plant delivery service ‘Planted’. These businesses have not been owned by Renee Douros for several years and have no connection to her.