(Colin Porter/WOUB)

Ponderosa Closes Its Doors

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Ponderosa Steakhouse on East State Street in Athens indefinitely closed its doors on Monday, laying off approximately 30 employees.

It’s estimated that six full-time and 24 part-time employees were affected by the closure.

According to Erin Peacock, spokeswoman with Ponderosa’s corporate office in Plano, Texas, the Athens location was a franchise owned by Ervin Campbell. She said Campbell also owns four other Ponderosa locations in Jackson, Columbus, South Point (Lawrence County) and Wheelersburg (Scioto County).

Peacock said the economics just weren’t in the Athens restaurant’s favor.

“The owner worked really hard to keep it open,” she said. “It was time for him to close.”

Jamey Marcus, an employee at the Athens Ponderosa, said that Campbell and other management staff told the employees of the closing around 8 a.m. on Monday morning. He said employees were given no other notice prior to Monday morning.

A sign posted on the door of the restaurant states that the restaurant closed effective Monday and that gift cards can be redeemed at the Ponderosa locations in Jackson and on South High Street in Columbus.

The Work Station is offering free employment assistance to employees affected.

The Work Station houses the Athens County Job and Family Services employment programs, adult education programs and a variety of other services for area residents. All of the services are free.

“Please help us spread the word to those affected employees,” said Arian Smedley, community relations coordinator for Athens County JFS. “We have staff ready to help them through this transition.”

The Dislocated Worker Program is specifically designed to help laid-off workers either obtain new jobs or go back to school for training. In addition, employment counselors provide assistance with resumes, job searches and job interview preparation.

For information about the employment services, call (740) 797-1405, (877) 351-0405 or visit