A WIGAN businessman broke the news that staff at a popular eatery had lost their jobs - via text message.
Carlton Lowe sent a message to staff at The Country Larder on Monday evening to say that the company had ceased trading, citing “the present trading climate” for the closure.
The text message, seen by the Wigan Evening Post, was sent to experienced members of the cafe’s 13-strong staff team.
It read: “It is with great regret that Millsflow Ltd (The Country Larder) ceased trading as of 5pm on October 8, 2012. All enquiries are to be made to Montpelier Professional (Lancs) Ltd, Charter House, Pittman Way, Preston.
“Once again it is with great regret but we are unable to continue in the present trading climate.”
A group of full and part-time staff turned up at the long-running cafe in disbelief yesterday morning, and ended up fielding questions from confused customers.
Two of the employees had given more than 50 years service to the St Helens eatery combined - with one, David Page, having worked at The Country Larder since it opened in March 1984.
Speaking on behalf of all the staff, he said: “This has come totally out of the blue. There was no warning whatsoever and to break the news by text message just sums it up.
“Nobody said a word about this when people were in work on Monday. They just said ‘see you tomorrow’.”
Mr Page added: “None of us know what to do now. We’ve called the number that we’ve been told to ring but they didn’t know anything about it.”
A spokesman for Montpelier Professional (Lancs) Ltd told the Post yesterday morning they were unaware of developments at the Country Larder.
Despite the Evening Post making several attempts to speak to Mr Lowe yesterday, he was unavailable for comment.