Posted at: 07/28/2013 12:24 AM
| Updated at: 07/28/2013 1:29 AM
By: Steve Flamisch
LATHAM -- Alex Salsburg expected to report to work at the Papa John's on Troy Schenectady Road at 9:00 a.m. Saturday.
Instead, the general manager called at 7:15 to tell Salsburg they were both out of a job. The restaurant, and five others in the Capital Region, had abruptly gone out of business.
"My mouth opened wide and I just couldn't believe it," Salsburg told NewsChannel 13. "There were absolutely no rumors that this was ever going to happen."
Several former employees estimated between 60 and 100 people lost their job Saturday, but the exact number was still unclear. A Papa John's spokesman did not return multiple phone calls seeking information about the closures.
"Poof! Just like that, it's gone," former employee Michael Ofosu said. "I feel bad for all those people who have families and kids to take care of."
The sign posted at the affected restaurants blamed the closures on "unforseen circumstances." Ofosu and other ex-employees said they were told the franchise owner was not satisfied with profits at the six restaurants, a claim that could not be immediately verified.
"As far as I knew, everything was going great," former employee Salavatore Rizzo said. "We were pretty steady for the most part. We were doing good. I wouldn't have imagined this would ever happen."
The telephone was heard ringing inside at least one of the restaurants, but there was no one inside to answer it. Several customers, unaware the restaurants had closed, tried to open the locked doors.
"I drove up to get something and it's closed," Ron Mondie, of Cohoes, said. "I haven't heard a word about this."
Another customer, Christopher C. Hollins, expressed support for the workers who were left suddenly unemployed.
"This is terribly wrong," Hollins, of Watervliet, said. "These people have families here. School is coming up soon. What are they supposed to do?"
For his part, Alex Salsburg said he spent the day applying for a new job. He was hoping to land another position as quickly as possible, though he knew it could take some time.
"I filled out about 20 applications," he said.
The six shuttered Papa John's restaurants are:
-471 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham
-402 Albany Shaker Road, Loudonville
-449 North Greenbush Road, Rensselaer
-720 Hoosick Road, Troy
-1525 Route 9, Halfmoon
-1410 Altamont Avenue, Rotterdam
The Papa John's at 571 New Scotland Avenue in Albany belongs to a different franchise owner and remains open for business, as do several other restaurants outside the immediate Albany area.