Catering business closes, leaving brides in a panic

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - F&B Catering Company earned a good reputation in South Mississippi after serving thousands of hot meals to storm victims after Hurricane Katrina.

Now, the abrupt closing of that popular catering business has left many brides-to-be and wedding planners in a panic.

The owner of F&B Catering is Craig Fant, who also owns "Frostings" cupcake stores which closed earlier this year.

The shutdown of the catering business has left future brides scrambling and South Mississippi's wedding industry trying to help.

Brandy Shackelford can't wait for her wedding.

"November 5th. I'm very excited. I've been waiting 30 years for it," she said, happily.

She hired F&B Catering to provide the food and help plan her wedding.  A conversation with the owner put her planning jitters at ease.

"I was very nerve wracked before, like during the bridal show. All the stuff I had to do. Then after talking with him, I felt completely at ease," she recalled.

About a week ago, that at ease feeling gave way to nausea.

"He never did get back with me. I haven't been able to get in touch with him. Him or his office, through e-mail, phone, any of it. So, kind of left us out in the cold with 50 percent of our money, which was a huge chunk of change for us," she said.

Out thousands of dollars, after learning of others in the same boat, she created a Facebook page called F&B Casualties.

"I have the advantage of having a few months to plan for mine, whereas some of these brides only have a few weeks," she said.

Nikkie and Brian Snyder are getting married Saturday.

"We had nine days to figure everything out. And start all over," said Nikkie.

"It was stressful," she said.

"And hectic," added her fiance.

Though the couple was angry and frustrated about the F&B closure, they had a wedding to worry about.

"I knew there was no time to sit and pout and cry about it. I just had to pick up the pace and run with it," said Nikkie.

Several other brides and wedding planners told WLOX News their stories of heartache and disappointment.

One mother of the bride in Purvis said she's out $3700 and this has turned what should be the happiest of times, into disaster.

"This is our community. And this is affecting the industry as a whole. And we're concerned about that," said Calvin Coleman, who runs Naomi's Catering.

That's why Coleman and others in the wedding planning and service industry are stepping forward in the wake of F&B's closing

"We're trying to offer our services at discounted rates. They've lost deposits, some of them have lost full payment of their events. Their weddings," he said.

Brandy Shackelford won't let this rob her joy.

"No worries.   Bottom line:  November 5th I get married to my best friend.  And that's all that matters," she says.

Steve Phillips went by F&B Catering and made calls to both phone numbers for the business. He did get an answering service and left a message, but so far has received no calls back.

As to why F&B closed, we do know that owner Craig Fant ran into some legal trouble in Las Vegas.

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