After a Wendy’s goes up in flames, owner keeps paying employees during repairs


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DULUTH, Minn. — A Wendy’s owner may have the most grateful workforce due to a decision he made on the heels of adversity. The Duluth News Tribune reports that Bob Sullivan hopes to reopen his restaurant in mid-April after a fire shut it down, but in the meantime, both his full and part-time staff are still collecting paychecks.

According to the Duluth Fire Department, a store manager noticed smoke when he went to open the restaurant on January 13. The fire caused $60,000 worth of damage and the restaurant must undergo extensive repairs. Sullivan was just as concerned about his employees and how the lack of pay may affect them.

“We have a great team of people working for us and they’ve got bills to pay like everyone else,” Sullivan told the newspaper. “We want to do our best to keep as many of them as we can.”

The newspaper reports that a few days after the blaze some of the workers had started cancelling expenditures because they thought the paychecks would stop until the store reopened. Sullivan gathered his employees for a meeting to inform them they were going to be paid on a normal schedule.

Even though he has some loss-of-income coverage built in to an insurance policy, he’s made the decision not fully knowing how much of the worker’s compensation will be covered. While the fire damage estimate was valued at $60,000, he said he’s going to remodel the store at a cost that will probably approach $400,000. He told the newspaper that the decision to keep paying his workers was a no-brainer.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” Sullivan said.

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