GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The closure of The B.O.B. unexpectedly in December left hundreds without jobs. But some are back at work, thanks to another nearby restaurant.
And that extra help has already led to extra business.
"I mean, there was definitely a freak out mode," says Dan Sommerville, who previously worked at The B.O.B. until it closed.
He had been there for five years and suddenly was unemployed.
"Management did the best they could to place people, but not knowing if they have a job, it's very hard to prepare," he says.
When The B.O.B. closed, that left more than 200 employees without a job. But fortunately for seven of them, right across the street, Social House had several positions open and looking to fill.
"It was the perfect storm," says owner Scott Esterline.
Esterline says finding people to work during the pandemic has been a challenge.
"People have just jumped ship on the restaurant industry because we were pretty much the ones everyone picked on during the pandemic," he explains.
So when he heard Sommerville and the rest of The B.O.B.'s staff were going to be without jobs soon, he began to reach out.
"We started making phone calls as soon as we found out they were closing," says Esterline, "to see if Dan was going to be available and if he had anyone else that would be available to come."
And bringing over a team of employees has already been beneficial to Social House.
"Coming over, it's easier to go with other people you've worked with," says Sommerville. "You know how they move and have that same rhythm with someone."
So much so, that it's been able to extend its hours and focus more on food service in a way it hasn't before, with new menus for dinner and happy hour.
And previously only able to open for lunch two days a week, new staff means Social House will now expand to five.
"It was just the right time for us to take on that load," says Esterline.
Social House opens for lunch at 11 a.m. on Wednesday through Saturday, and brunch on Sunday at 10 a.m.
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