HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — One day after she learned her employer, Quaker Steak & Lube on West Broad Street, was closing, the restaurant’s former manager opened a GoFundMe account to help co-workers who are suddenly out of work.
“Without any warning my staff and I were told we no longer had jobs. We are a close knit work family and my heart breaks for these young people, some of them with small children, who have worked so hard for me and were so dedicated to helping the store succeed,” Michele Riccio wrote on the fundraising website. “To have their jobs taken from them when they count on the generosity this time of year brings is truly saddening.”
Riccio said she was informed of the closing when she arrived to open the restaurant Monday morning. She then had to inform the 20 – 25 people who worked under her. She said she planned to divide any money raised among them.
A sign left outside Quaker Steak & Lube Monday indicated the restaurant had closed. The Henrico County location is no longer listed on the restaurant chain’s corporate website.
“Despite the passionate following the restaurant has enjoyed over the past five years, the franchisee owner for this location decided to close this restaurant,” a statement from the Quaker Steak & Lube corporate office read. “We are sorry that many loyal customers will not have a local Lube to visit in the Richmond area. Quaker Steak & Lube will continue to operate restaurants across the United States and hope that we can re-open in the Richmond area under new ownership in the future.”
Messages left for the franchise owner have not been returned.
Quaker Steak & Lube workers started to reach out Monday morning as word spread of the restaurant’s closure. Some questioned the timing of the closing and the fact they would lose their jobs so close to Christmas.
“All of the employees are very distraught by this situation,” a former employee named Melody Lindsay said. “Not only were we co-workers, but it was a family, a weird, strange, warm family. And now we won’t be able to share the holidays with each other and our pockets will have no money for bills or gifts for the holidays.”