SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Over 40 employees of a local barbecue chain were unexpectedly notified earlier this week that they were without a job.
It’s not yet clear what led to the closure, but a district manager of Archers BBQ told us the business owner, Archer Bagley, was filing for bankruptcy.
The Memphis-style barbecue chain was founded in 2011 and had six locations total in Knox and Sevier Counties.
We spoke to several other Archers BBQ employees who said they were shocked to hear about the closings.
Andrew Anspaugh had been at the Sevierville location since it opened back in April of this year.
“I pulled up to pick up my son from work and the guy that was the manager at the time came up and offered me a job when I wasn’t working at the time,” Anspaugh said. “So, it worked out great.”
He said it was always busy at their location and it was a great work environment.
Anspaugh worked with his three kids and two other employees.
His son, Elijah, is the one who received a call telling them they were out of a job.
“My manager called me and said, ‘Hey a lot of things happened, we’re closing stores’ and at first I didn’t really understand but then he explained it and I was like ‘Oh wow’ and then everything just shut down.”
Elijah found another full-time position almost immediately, but Andrew is an amputee and said it’s harder for him to find employment.
“It sucks that it’s close to Christmas,” Andrew said. “But we’ll make do.”
Both Elijah and Andrew said they have no animosity towards the restaurant owner, but they want people to know what’s going on with the business.
“He [the owner] hasn’t said much personally about it,” Elijah said. “I feel like something needs to be said about it instead of just keeping quiet.”
“He just overextended himself,” Andrew added. “He tried to open too much at one time.”
“I hope the best for him. I hope everything works out for him.”
Andrew and Elijah did say that they received their last paycheck from the business. Elijah said he already has another full-time job while Andrew said, right now he’s just enjoying time with his family until he can find employment that fits his needs.
We have tried to reach out to the owner, Archer Bagley, but have not gotten a response.
We have been keeping up with bankruptcy filings in the federal court system and haven’t seen anything under Archer Bagley at the time of publication.