Not only is Brad Supic out of a job, he has yet to be paid for time worked at his last place of employment.
Supic, along with other employees of the . Supic learned of the closing when he arrived to work his scheduled shift.
“I showed up for work on Thursday (March 22) at five o’clock and no one was there,” he said.
Supic said no one called to tell him not to report for work and he had no idea the restaurant was going to close. While losing his job was bad enough, worse news came shortly thereafter.
The last paycheck Supic received from Ippolito’s bounced, he said. As a result, the bank assessed a $20 fee against his account. Now, three weeks later, Supic still has not been paid and has been unable to reach anyone with Ippolito’s to resolve the issue.
“I heard it happened to a bunch of people,” he said.
Like Supic, another Ippolito’s employee, who asked that her name be withheld, was also surprised by the store closing.
“[The owner] told all of us that we weren’t closing and we were fine,” she said. That conversation, she recalled, took place approximately a month and a half before the restaurant closed.
Now, like Supic, she is waiting on her final paycheck but said she received a call Monday, April 9, from Hamilton Mill Ippolito’s owner Frank Genovese indicating all employees would be paid within the next 24 to 48 hours -- a claim Genovese later repeated to Dacula Patch.
Genovese admitted there was some “confusion” related to the last payroll, but said he is working to resolve the issue with the affected employees.
“Unfortunately, the store was not doing well at all,” he said. According to Genovese, most of the employees were aware of the situation and were not taken by surprise when the store closed. Genovese said he personally called “almost everybody” the day the restaurant closed and advised the employees their paychecks might be delayed.
“The reason why you close a store, you know, is because there’s no money there to keep it open,” Genovese explained.
That situation, he said, led to difficulties with the final payroll.
“What happened was -- there was a huge confusion about the last payroll that was being sent in,” he said. Genovese said there were some people that did not receive pay for the five or six days of the last payroll period.
“Since then, 90 percent of those people have been paid in full and as checks are coming in from the rest of the stuff that was returned from the restaurant, the rest of those people will be paid also,” he said.
Genovese said in all the years that Ippolito’s has been in business, something like this has never happened.
“As far as the employees go, we have taken care of, like I said, pretty much 90 percent of them, and the other 10 percent within the next week or so will be taken care of also,” he added. “It’s really not a story of not paying people, it’s just a miscalculation of payroll.”
Genovese estimates that roughly a half-dozen employees have not yet received pay.
“Everything is being taken care of with the employees,” he emphasized.
Ippolito’s owner George Ippolito is saddened by the events at the Hamilton Mill restaurant and said the situation is not indicative of that at other Ippolito’s locations.
“We take great pride in our employees and our customers,” he said.
Ippolito had high praise for other Gwinnett Ippolito’s franchise owners including Dan Smith and Dick Cunningham, who own stakes in the Norcross and Suwanee locations.
“Our family is very sorry to say we did have a location in the Hamilton Mill area owned solely by Mr. Frank Genovese who was in business for approximately a year and a half,” Ippolito said.
Ippolito said he knew the Hamilton Mill location was struggling, but had no idea Genovese was planning to close the restaurant.
“I was aware that he had financial problems and was trying to rectify them,” he said.
Now Ippolito is dealing with some of those problems.
Ippolito said he, Smith and Cunningham have paid money to some employees who came to the Norcross and Suwanee locations seeking unpaid wages. Ippolito encouraged employees who have not been paid to contact Ippolito’s corporate offices.
“For our reputation and our name being in business for 24 years, it’s hard to have an individual like Mr. Genovese do what he has done and not take care of his employees,” Ippolito said.
“We take care of our employees,” Ippolito explained. “They’re like family to us and for this to happen -- it’s our reputation at stake.”
The Hamilton Mill Ippolito’s was one of seven metro Atlanta Ippolito’s locations. The company also operates restaurants in Suwanee, Alpharetta, Norcross, Roswell, Kennesaw and Sandy Springs.