Cosi closes, blindsides staff
The restaurant Cosi, located on 301 W. Grand River Ave., closed permanently on Monday.
The closing appeared to be a shock to residents and employees of Cosi, as they neglected to inform workers they had shut down.
"The place was a mess from the day I started working there," Shelby VanderMel, Cosi senior cook, said. "It was a long time coming, but I'm disappointed that Cosi didn't have the decency or respect for its workers to give notice before closing, or even notify my coworkers that they closed at all."
Employees showed up to work Monday greeted with a sign that said, "Our restaurant is closed," and were blindsided.
"Many of my coworkers already struggled financially," VanderMel said. "This is just horrible."
On Sunday, the location's district manager only scheduled three people to work, which was not enough staff to function, VanderMel said.
"(The leader/acting manager and I) both quit that day," VanderMel said. "The following afternoon I was told the upper level management chose to shut the Cosi MSU location down."
Cosi's closing also came by surprise for shift manager Lalah Taylor.
"My last day working was Sunday the 25, and it was a very bad day," Taylor said. "Line out the door, short staffed. ... We ended up closing early on Sunday due to this craziness."
Monday morning, Taylor received a call at noon to come in and return her keys because the store was closing — effective immediately.
"I can honestly say, I didn't plan on giving Cosi much more of my time," Taylor said. "I still have yet to speak with my actual higher up."
Tess Johnson, a Cosi barista, was the only member still employed there from the original staff when it closed.
"I felt very disappointed when we got the call," Johnson said. "All of us that were leftover from the waves and waves of turnover had given so much to try and keep the store afloat."
Employees like Johnson found themselves working long hours.
"I watched one of my coworkers clock 20 hours of overtime — more than one week in a row, as well as all of us," Johnson said. "Even students with other very vital responsibilities doing the work of two, even three people."
Hospitality business senior, who was also employed at Cosi, Alessia Risi said she noticed the store didn't seem to be doing as well when she returned during the summer, but she didn't expect the store to close down.
"Some of my coworkers have kids and one of them quit her other job," Risi said. "It's upsetting because some of these people depended on that paycheck and the way they shut us down immediately without a two weeks notice was not nice and not professional."