Entire staff at Medford bar walks out

 MEDFORD, Ore. — Imagine being out for a drink on Saturday night when all of a sudden—the staff gets up and walks out. That’s exactly what happened at Howiee’s on Front this past Saturday night.

According to Howiee’s on Front, the owner approached the general manager and bar manager about a financial restructuring of management. Former Howiee’s GM, Lance Goldrich, claims it would have cut his hours. He said both he and the bar manager declined and were laid off. They agreed to stay until the end of the pay period at 11:59 on Saturday night.

“We were just going to walk through the bars, say goodbye to everyone, and then walk out the door and be done with it,” Goldrich said. “Apparently 99 percent of the people that were in there were going to follow us out.”

Afterward, a frenzy, customers allegedly going behind the bar handing out bottles of alcohol.

“That was not what we had wanted or what we had intended,” Goldrich said. “That was a huge surprise to all of us, it really wasn’t a good deal.”

Howiee’s on Front declined our request for an on-camera interview but released a statement. In it, they said a handful of people were able to keep order while the bar closed down early.

“We were supporting the person who has been there for us 100 percent of the time since the day I started working there,” said former assistant manager Paige Peffers.

NBC5 News made a call to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, they said they already have an ongoing investigation into the bar.

“When we look at an establishment that has a history of serious and persistent problems,” said Matthew Van Sickle, Public Affairs for the OLCC, “the OLCC certainly balances the businesses right to conduct business, but we also look at the other important things like community livability and public safety.”

Since it’s an active investigation, the OLCC couldn’t comment on this exact incident but said it takes things like this and due process seriously.

Former Howiee’s staff said they’re moving on, the business is as well. Howiee’s is conducting a private investigation, saying security cameras had been deactivated prior to the walkout. It also said Howiee’s current management has been locked out of its business Facebook page.

The OLCC said violations could lead it to revoke a businesses license to serve alcohol, it’s even possible for individuals to lose their ability to serve liquor.

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