About 40 Rockford employees got a shock when they arrived at work at Pep Boys Tuesday, only to find doors locked and their jobs gone for good.
There's never a good time to lose your job. But one Pep Boys employee 23 News spoke with says the holiday season is the worst possible timing.
He says workers were given no advanced warning the East State Street auto center was closing down. It's one of 31 Pep Boys stores nationwide corporate shut down Tuesday, leaving 550 employees out of a job just weeks before the holidays.
Pep Boys corporate representatives say shutting down stores that weren't bringing in enough sales is part of their long-term cost cutting restructuring plan.
But one employee who did not want to be identified for fear he would lose his last paycheck says he feels betrayed by the company.
"When it comes down to it, if they want to let you go or close up shop for restructuring or whatever, OK, there's no advance notice, there's no time to prepare. It's your tough luck to figure out what you're going to do with your bills. Tough luck, you know, Merry Christmas," says the laid-off worker.
He says he'll do his best to get by this holiday season, shifting money around to pay bills and buy those Christmas presents. He will be getting unemployment. The Pep Boys representative 23 News spoke with says severance pay will be done on an individual basis based on tenure.
Nationwide, Pep Boys sales are down more than 21-million dollars this quarter versus the same quarter last year. 561 Pep Boys stores remain open across the country. Rockford's store will reopen Thursday November 29th, manned by management staff to sell off the remaining items in the store as quickly as possible.