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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Employees of the Fireweed Market allege that their layoff was sudden and promised payments may not be delivered. 

After the restructuring announcement from NEAT that abruptly shut down the Fireweed Market, employees of the market say it was just as sudden on their end. 

“I just got a call one morning that we’re just done completely, and we might not be getting paid,” said Kyra Brumbaugh, one of the three former employees that spoke with Energeticcity.ca.  

Brumbaugh said she was not at work on Monday, October 17th, when a meeting took place to inform employees about the layoff, and received the news over the phone.

Elaena Morison, another former employee with the market, says she was at the meeting and was told they would be getting paid for three weeks by Friday, October 21st.

She adds that staff were later asked to help with inventory and were told that they would not be getting paid. 

“They said possibly by the end of the month,” Morison said, “but they said we don’t know if we’ll ever have the funds to pay any of you.” 

All three employees that EnergeticCity.ca interviewed stated that they had been told they did not know if or when they would be paid.

On top of payment being withheld, Morison and a manager of the Fireweed Market, who wishes to remain anonymous, alleged that they were asked to keep the information confidential to the public and other employees.

The manager claims they were told that, despite being the manager, they were not to tell any of the employees themself. 

This insight seems to correlate with Brumbaugh’s statement that she has not received any further information since her one phone call.

As of last week, none of the former employees had received an update or payment. The manager confirmed Monday that they still haven’t heard any updates from NEAT.

All three employees also stated that vendors were not given heads-up on the closure either. 

One of the vendors, TH German Taste, is a mother-and-daughter duo out of Cecil Lake and was a frequent vendor at the Fireweed Market.

Stacy Tindill of TH German Taste confirmed that she and her mother were not told of the closure.

“We still haven’t been emailed about the closure,” said Tindill.

Tindill says she would not want to speak ill of another small business but thinks the situation was handled poorly.

Brumbaugh says the situation is “difficult.”

She adds that she thought working for a non-profit organization meant they were more trustworthy.

“At the end of the day, it just felt like they didn’t care about us at all,” said Brumbaugh.

NEAT sent a press release out on Monday, October 17th, concerning their restructuring.

The company has not given any more information about its “reorganizing” and has not responded to requests for comments.

In the release, NEAT announced, effective October 17th, that the Fireweed Market has been closed and NEAT Bingo Extravaganza has been suspended.

NEAT sent out a press release on Tuesday, October 18th, stating it is “undergoing a reorganization.”

Energeticcity.ca reached out to NEAT’s board president Russ Beerling for a statement on the allegations. No response was received by the time of publication.

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Katherine Caddel is a recent graduate of Laurentian University's English Media and Rhetoric program. They grew up in Northern Ontario and recently decided to make the North Peace their new home. When not at work, Katherine enjoys horror movies, playing video games and Dungeons and Dragons.