Clarksville restaurant closes with no warning, no notice and no pay yet for workers
Rails Craft Brew and Eatery lasted barely more than a year. Employees said there were signs things were falling apart.
CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Magenn Mangles was a hostess, Crystal Fuchs was a server and Bobbie Jo Yates ran the bar, but they were all burned when Rails Craft Brew and Eatery closed without warning on Sept. 18.
They still haven't been paid.
"I put my heart and soul into this place," Yates said. "...they'd closed the restaurant down in the middle of the night."
The sudden closure left about two dozen workers waiting 16 days and counting for their last check.
"It's very stressful, as a parent, to not be able to provide for your kids because someone won't pay you," Mangles said.
Servers and bartenders make much of their money on tips, so they're not owed as much as the hourly staff.
Mangles, Fuchs and Yates said they're owed less than $500 combined, but some cooks and kitchen employees are waiting on up to $1,000. For many who live paycheck to paycheck, that's bills, food and survival, they said.
Rails Craft Brew and Eatery lasted barely more than a year. It opened off Lewis and Clark Parkway in July of 2016 and employees said toward the end, there were signs of things were falling apart.
"The checks were bouncing, but we were told that was in the works of getting fixed," Fuchs said.
Restaurant operator David Lawrence chimed in by phone Wednesday afternoon, saying all checks were mailed as of Tuesday.
"It's coming a little late due to cash not being available, but we were able to secure some," he said.
But the employees are skeptical, saying they were told that a week ago.
"We took care of our employees the best we could possibly do, and we're sorry it didn't work out," Lawrence said.
Lawrence blamed the restaurant's failure on its struggle to obtain proper permitting to host events and music at the outside bar and patio area. He said a neighbor would often call the Clark County Building Commissioner and complain.
"I believe that really hurt us and our sales," Lawrence said. "Also being off the beaten path and other restaurants opening up in more progressive parts of Clarksville and Jeffersonville hurt us as well."
Some former employees are more forgiving than others.
"I think he is trying to do what he can," Yates said.
But they all just want their money.
"I have no faith that I'm going to get paid," Mangles said. "I couldn't get paid when I worked here."
There are Rails Craft Breweries in Fishers and Seymour, Indiana, and one opening soon in Florida. All locations are individually owned.
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