BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Margaritaville's employees and the casinos supplier have known for some time the closure was a likely possibility, but still, they say, that doesn't make the reality of it any less difficult. A day after the shutdown they used words like "sad" and "devastating" to describe their feelings. Now they must wonder what comes next for them.
Margaritaville employees reported to the human resources building on Howard Avenue a day after the casino announced it is out of business. Workers told WLOX they were asked to come in turn in their uniforms and company badges.
"Sad. It's real bad," said employee Michelle Spears.
Spears said she had been hopeful right up until the end.
"I had faith, but it didn't come through this time."
"Even though we knew it was coming to an end on the 19th, but it was still all of a sudden," said Stephanie Dawson, another employee. "We're still going to be there helping to clean and be there. I really liked working there and I hate to see it go."
The next worry for its 350 employees is how to support their families.
"It's kind of devastating, a little bit," said Dawson, "It's going to be more struggle trying to restart all over the process. It's hard, but things happen in life. So just got to take it day by day, you know."
After dropping off shrimp, fish and crabs three to five times a week for the last two years, Quality Poultry and Seafood's days of delivering to Margaritaville are over. Now Quality and other Margaritaville suppliers must wonder how their profits will be affected.
"We're hoping some of the other casinos will pick up some revenue and increase business elsewhere," said manager Andy Gunkel. "We won't probably know the effect probably for another month."
The hope is someone will fill the hole of lost jobs and revenue Margaritaville leaves behind.
"It saddens us when anybody goes out of business because there's hardworking folk at each company that they're out there looking for jobs," Gunkel said. "We're just hoping with our robust economy that it can be picked up elsewhere."
Margaritaville employees tell WLOX they've been told they'll receive their final paycheck on Thursday. Some of them are working now by helping with clean up before saying goodbye.