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Simply...the end

It's simply the end for Simply the Best catering.

Less than a week after sponsoring a booth at a bridal fair, a North Little Rock caterer was shut down for failing to pay state sales taxes.

Seven On Your Side visited with two brides caught by surprise. One of these brides has plenty of time to find a new caterer. But the other is getting married next weekend.

When 43-year-old chef Brian Kearns bought Simply the Best Catering in 2016 he certainly didn't envision an ending like this. On Jan. 25, the company's building was locked down by the state after months of notices and one week after a final warning was delivered.

The message: Pay your taxes, or at least arrange to pay your taxes -- or else.

"I learned this past Saturday that there was a problem," said Sara Alesandrini, a bride-to-be from Jacksonville.

Alesandrini made a $600 deposit in November to book Simply the Best to cater her wedding reception in October.

"If the state shuts you down you should know six months to a year out, you know? They are sending you letters that your failure to pay ... you need to pay on time,” said Alesandrini. “They had to know."

Joyce Clonts, a bride-to-be from North Little Rock, said she paid the catering company in full in December. Clonts really doesn't have the time or the money to get a new caterer. Her wedding is next weekend and she's out more than $2,500 for services she won't receive.

"Thankfully some people at the Cathedral at St. Andrew recommended some other caterers in the area,” Clonts said. “So I called a lady that is another church member and she and her crew are coming out and doing our wedding for us. And she saved the day. I've very thankful for that."

Clonts was contacted by a former employee of Simply the Best catering. Alesandrini was told the bad news by a merchant planning another aspect of her wedding. Both women fear other brides who have booked the company may remain unaware that Simply the Best is out of business.

Our attempts to contact Brian Kearns by phone and email have been unsuccessful.

Air date: Feb. 7, 2019

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