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Goodbye to Auburn Chevys with tears, cynicism

Final paychecks at suddenly shuttered eatery
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Gus Thomson/Auburn Journal

Amy Hacker, a 13-year Chevys Auburn employee, sheds a tear and exchanges hugs with another restaurant worker Wednesday after final paychecks were handed out.

 

Ex-employees said their goodbyes Wednesday to the suddenly shuttered Auburn Chevys as they commisserated together at the entrance with final paychecks in hand until shooed away by a small cadre of managers remaining inside.

The margaritas stopped pouring and the fajitas halted their sizzle Monday, catching management, staff and customers unaware.

Employees said they had expected to go to work Monday, only to learn that they would not have a job to back come to. About 40 people worked at the restaurant, located at the corner of New Airport Road and Highway 49.

Joseph Gonzales, with two children in tow, was one of the people picking up a final paycheck. A single father, he expressed concern about the impact the sudden job loss just before Christmas would have on his kids and those of his former co-workers.

“It’s going to be hardest on the children,” Gonzales said. “Now I’m not going to be able to give them the holidays we wanted - let alone the regular things.”

Gonzales said he could see cynicism creeping into the goodbyes and hugs outside the restaurant as his co-workers picked up their checks and then talked among themselves.

“People are peeved at how Chevys did this,” he said. “It’s one thing to close a store but they way they did it after the Black Friday weekend? If they’d done it a week before then we wouldn’t have spent the money we did. Now it’s money we don’t have.”

Several attempts to reach Chevys, through remaining store employees, through its public information spokesman and through its head office, have not been answered regarding why the eatery was closed and why it was closed Monday.

“You don’t think it will happen to you,” Gonzales said. “And then it does.”

Ashley Kinsman, a former Chevys cocktail server, said she’s feeling the financial hurt after taking part in Black Friday weekend sales. She added that while she was handed a paycheck Wednesday, Chevys wasn’t turning over sick pay compensation - something she was told she would have to call the corporate office about.

“A lot of us are single parents,” Kinsman said. “A lot of us are one income. This puts us in a bad spot.”

Kinsman said she was dealing with the loss of her job with a mixture of sadness and confusion.

“The restaurant seemed to be doing well,” she said. “I don’t understand why?”

The message to Auburn’s Chevys customers and staff remained on the door Wednesday: “We have closed this location and apologize for any inconvenience.”