JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Which Wich employees say they were blindsided when the store closed without warning last month.
The inside of the restaurant appears frozen with boxes of chips sitting on the floor, waiting for the opening crew to start the day. Handwritten “closed” signs greet would-be customers at both doors, along with court documents taped up from the inside.
Alison Davis, the former manager of the sandwich shop, said she’d worked at the restaurant for eight years.
On Dec. 20, she said she and another employee had worked an early-morning catering event and gone home for a few hours to rest before opening the restaurant.
They came back for their regular shift at 11 a.m., she said, and arrived to watch as the building’s landlords and a Constable changed the locks on the restaurant’s doors.
She said the landlords told her that morning that the owners of the franchise hadn’t been paying rent and that the accounts for the business had been frozen.
Davis said communication with the franchise owners, Gary Sachs and John Mcglone, has been spotty. Employees with direct deposit received their final paychecks, she added, but paper checks are still missing.
She estimated that four of the eatery’s nine employees never received their final paychecks.
“One of the owners has answered once saying he would ‘figure this out,’ but (we) have heard nothing since,” she said.
Sachs and Mcglone did not return a request for comment by 4 p.m. on Monday.
Court documents confirm that the restaurant was closed on Dec. 20 by property owners and the Washington County Constable. A judgment debtor notice dated Dec. 16, four days before the restaurant closed, said that the tenants, Two Dudes Food, LLC, owed $7,376.
The documents detail money seized from various safes inside the business, totaling $1,032.99.
According to the records, the trouble began in December 2018, when the property owners at 1069 Hamilton Place Drive issued a written notice to the tenants to vacate for a rent balance of $3,297.91.
According to the records, the unpaid rent stacked up to more than $11,000 in February 2019, and a record dated September 18 said the outstanding balance totaled $5,233 in July 2019.
A General Sessions Court case awarded judgment to the property owners, Hamilton Place of Johnson City, LLC, on Oct. 9.
The property owners declined to comment.
Davis said that the Kingsport Which Wich closed about six months ago.
As she hauled supplies and inventory from the closed Kingsport business to her store, she said the owners reassured her that business was good in Johnson City, and not to worry about it closing.
“I just feel heartbroken,” she said. “I never thought that after working so hard for a company for almost eight years that I would be out of a job the week of Christmas with no warning.”