Local business closes early for employees due to extreme heat

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PECULIAR, Mo. -- It's not every day an employer would close the doors to their business early for the sake of their employees, but the heat was no match. One local business that did just that on Wednesday.

The owner of Peculiar Drive-In closed early because of the unbearable heat. He says his employees are more important than the bottom line.

As the fryers sizzle, the temperatures at this old school drive-in continue to rise.

"There`s not a lot of room to get around, you can`t really get away from the heat when you`re working," said the co-owner, Matt Cobern.

"We have to walk away for a little bit and see if we can find anywhere that`s cool," said one employee, Kayla Crouch.

The owner of the small mom and pop business says the small quarters and extreme heat take a toll on his employees.

"They were starting to slow down and there was a lot of sweat, and you could tell their attitudes changed because they`re hot and they`re not enjoying what they`re doing," added Cobern.

"We’d get so many orders we’d normally be okay with doing, and we just started feeling overwhelmed," Crouch said.

Crouch says they were taking many breaks and trying to stay hydrated.

"I looked at the heat index, and saw it wasn't going down," Cobern added. "I went to a little hardware store here in town and I got a thermometer, and I brought it back, and I held it three feet away from the grill and three feet from the grill it was 104 degrees."

The air conditioner couldn't keep up with the heat of the fryers and grills, so Cobern felt it wasn't safe, and also a health issue.

"The bottom line really isn't worth it if I don`t have any employees that can work," said Cobern.

He closed at four instead of the usual eight. He went on Facebook to alert customers.

"I put it out there that I`m sorry, but if you came in and couldn't get your food today, I apologize, but my employees are worth more than the bottom line," Cobern said.

"I feel comfortable, and I know that if anything happens, they`re going to worry about me," added Crouch.

Cobern says he'll close early again if he has to. He says it's not just a business, they're family.

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