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When Foxtrot abruptly closed, TikTok was the place to go to vent

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Foxtrot, a high-end grocery store with locations in Chicago, Austin, Dallas and the D.C. area, abruptly closed its more than 30 stores this week. The news came while some of the employees were still inside their stores, serving customers. Some employees of the chain took to TikTok to share news of their job loss.

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UNIDENTIFIED FOXTROT EMPLOYEE: I found out I was losing my job about 4 1/2 hours ago.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Andrea Hernandez broke the story on her blog, Snaxshot, and says posting about losing your job is a Gen Z thing. She was surprised by the lack of warning about the closures.

ANDREA HERNANDEZ: There was a lot of sentiment of betrayal, of, like, the lack of empathy of how they were announced.

FADEL: According to Hernandez, it's not just employees that will feel the loss of the grocery chain.

HERNANDEZ: Foxtrot Market had become sort of a launchpad for a lot of new and emerging brands across the U.S. and even internationally.

INSKEEP: The Federal Trade Commission says more than half of food retail sales are concentrated at just eight national supermarket chains. Foxtrot was hoping to change that, or at least make it nine. It also tried to stock smaller food brands on the shelves.

FADEL: Then the chain closed without telling those companies either. Some found out on social media and then spread the word on social media. Elise Brulotte, a co-founder of Hot Take Dough, which sold their frozen cookie dough to Foxtrot, took to TikTok, of course.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ELISE BRULOTTE: As a brand, we had no idea. The employees had no idea. It's just craziness. I have no idea what's going on.

INSKEEP: Former employees are now filing lawsuits for the lack of notification about losing their jobs. We don't have much from the owner of Foxtrot, a company called Outfox Hospitality. It did post a statement on Instagram, but did not explain why the stores closed so suddenly.

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FADEL: NPR reached out to Outfox for comment, but the company hasn't responded so far.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.