The shop has been burgled in their absence. No sign of the boxtrolls, though the mini boxtroll, the mini sea-cow, and the mini cabbagehead are still there (and still alive, thankfully).
Right then there's a visitor in the form of a man bearing a large load of laundry, with a rat standing on his head. The rat introduces himself as Tom, and the man as Kipper, and together they introduce themselves as members of the Ratbridge Nautical Laundry.
The rat, Tom, starts listing laundry specials, but stops when he realizes that the shop has just been vandalized. Willbury explains that their friends have been kidnapped, and Kipper says that some of their crew has disappeared recently, too.
Tom and Kipper explain that the first one to disappear was a mean rat named Framley, but then the other two rats who vanished were good folks, so now they're concerned.
So they invite Willbury, Arthur, and Marjorie to come consult with their captain about the disappearances. They bring the mini critters with them, too, and everyone sets off.