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Foxtrot Market, Dom's Kitchen employees say they weren't warned before stores abruptly closed

Attorney says abrupt closure of Foxtrot, Dom's may have violated labor law
Attorney says abrupt closure of Foxtrot, Dom's may have violated labor law 02:45

CHICAGO (CBS) — Employees of two Chicago-based grocery stores, Foxtrot Market and Dom's Kitchen & Market, say they weren't given any significant warning that their jobs would suddenly evaporate.

The abrupt closures of the 33 Foxtrot stores in Chicago, Texas and the Washington D.C. area, as well as the Dom's locations, came as a surprise Tuesday. The chains announced a merger only six months earlier, under the name Outfox Hospitality. 

With the closures, hundreds are out of work.

Monica Perez worked at the Lincoln Park Dom's at 2730 N. Halsted St. A few years ago, an entire strip mall that had most recently housed a combination Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins, a Massage Envy, and a Performance Bicycle store was completely overhauled to make way for the new Dom's.

Now, the store that had occupied that new building is suddenly out of business — and Perez is out of a job.

"We just got here, and apparently everything is closing," said Monica Perez, "so a lot of people — everyone here — are out of work now."

Perez and her coworkers reminisced Tuesday afternoon outside the Dom's store in Lincoln Park. The store had regularly been packed with people buying pricey items, a signal to employees of a strong future. Instead, all the employees were blindsided before work.

"I didn't even get a call from a manager," said Perez. "I showed up like a regular day."

Dom's Kitchen, Foxtrot abruptly close 02:11

Delivery was halted, mobile apps went dark, and store credit cards were cut off. All Foxtrot and Dom's account credits and member perks were voided, effective Tuesday.

"It is with a heavy heart that we must inform you of a difficult decision we have had to make. After much consideration and evaluation, we regret to announce that Foxtrot and Dom's Kitchen & Market will be closing their doors starting on April 23, 2024," Dom's Kitchen & Market wrote in a message on their website. "We explored many avenues to continue the business but found no viable option despite good faith and exhaustive efforts."

Customers shocked by sudden closures

Customers who see the workers daily were jolted by the sudden news.

"This is like family," said Amy Tanner. "So it's very sad. We're really sad for the employees."

Amy and Matt Tanner's every-evening shopping routines were also upended.

"Shocked and really upset," said Amy Tanner. "You know, we literally just come down here to decide what we're going to have for dinner every night."

One sign on a Foxtrot store at 1019 W. Lake St. read: "As of today we are closed for the final time. Thank you for the time we had together." A hand-drawn sign next to it showed a headstone reading, "R.I.P. Foxtrot."

The Tanners were confused by the abrupt closure. Social media posts indicated that Dom's in Lincoln Park was even open for business for part of the day Tuesday before all the stores shut down.

In a TikTok video Tuesday afternoon, two young women who appeared to be working at an East Lakeview Foxtrot reported they found out they were losing their jobs only hours into their shift, while customers were still inside. They said the customers were all asked to leave, and the store promptly went out of business — with a handwritten sign reading, "Closed for good."

Meanwhile at the River North Foxtrot, store merchandise was hauled out by the cartload and stuffed away into trunks of vehicles. Kevin O'Brien also found out he was out of a job because of a sign on the window at the Foxtrot location.

"I think they could have definitely given us a little more notice," O'Brien said. "Now I'm just sad and unemployed."

"We'll see what happens, if this is a reorganization, or if it's just something going on financially, but it's kind of weird that they'd throw everybody out and shut things down," said Matt Tanner. "It's kind of weird."

Meanwhile, Perez and other now-jobless employees wondered what was next for them, as their paychecks will soon end.

"I don't got a job now," Perez said. "Now I've got to go back and search for a job."

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