The Coffee Culture location in downtown St. Catharines — which shut its doors suddenly in late July — closed because of bankruptcy or receivership, according to records of employment sent to former workers.
Former staff said they have still not heard anything about the monies owed to them.
The employees were notified of their termination by a text message sent by franchise owner Tyler Miedema at 9 p.m. July 25, the night before the doors closed — two days before paycheques were supposed to come out.
Most of the employees have filed claims with the Ministry of Labour as of Aug. 1, said Rodrigo Lugo, one of the former workers, but so far they’re still just waiting to find out when they will be paid.
“I mean I really don’t care about this anymore, but what they did was just unprofessional and selfish all around,” he said.
“I just want to receive the money they owe me and move on.”
Lugo said he tried to contact Coffee Culture’s head office with no success.
“I called head office one day … to grab some of the things I left inside, but the first time I called I was put on hold. After a couple minutes they hung up. I called back and they just said they were unavailable to talk.”
The employees received their records of employment as of Aug. 4., said Dana Watson, former assistant manager of the store, who sent a copy of her records to Postmedia.
The records state the reason for issuing the record of employment is due to employer bankruptcy or receivership.
Watson said she suspects if it was bankruptcy, that it is not related to the performance of the business, but rather to changes made by head office.
Postmedia’s repeated messages to Miedema have gone unanswered since the closure.
When first contact by a reporter in late July, George Karamountzos, with Coffee Culture’s head office, said he thinks Miedema might be deployed with the Canadian Forces.
Watson said she believes he is in the Navy.
Since then, neither Karamountzos nor head office have responded to interview requests.
Employees said they haven’t heard anything from Miedema since the closure.
“We’re just frustrated,” said Watson.
“We just want everyone to be honest and we’d like an apology, and of course what’s owed to us.”