The Emporia Gazette

The Emporia Chamber of Commerce Foundation has established an account to accept donations to assist employees of Coach’s Grill & Bar who have been displaced by the recent fire.

The Emporia Fire Department was called out to the restaurant around 5 a.m. Aug. 14 to find heavy smoke and flames coming out of the roof and south side of the building. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

With 28 full and part-time employees suddenly out of work, and an unknown timeline of what’s next for Coach’s, co-Owners Brett Kessler and Sara Schnakenberg were concerned about what they could do to help their employees get through the next several weeks with their source of income gone.

“I know that Sara and I will be able to work through this process, so we are okay, but our employees are like family and our concern right now is how can we help them through the next few weeks and make sure they aren’t placed in a difficult financial position because the restaurant is gone,” Kessler said.

While the employees begin the process of working through the Unemployment Insurance system and looking for new job opportunities there will be a gap in their income that they could use a little help to get through.

“We reached out to the Coach’s family to see how we could be of assistance, and their first concern was their employees. Many friends and customers have offered their assistance; however, they were unsure how to best receive that support. We immediately new organizing a fund to help their employees was a way for our office and others to show their support,” said Jeanine McKenna, President and CEO of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce.

Utilizing the established Emporia Chamber of Commerce Foundation as a destination for donations allows contributors to make a tax-deductible gift to support the Coach’s employees following this unexpected event.

Donations can be made out to The Emporia Chamber of Commerce Foundation with a notation that the money is earmarked for Coach’s employee assistance or Fire Relief fund and sent either to the Emporia Chamber of Commerce at 719 Commercial St. Emporia, KS 66801.

The Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization of 350 area businesses that join forces to accomplish collectively what no one business could do individually. The mission of the Chamber is to be proactive in creating an environment for business and community success. The organization is currently focusing on Ignite Emporia initiatives of workforce development and housing; business advocacy and development; and leadership and membership development.

(3) comments


It seems that most restaurants in town have help wanted signs. As the Chamber of Commerce, you seem to be an impediment for these local restaurants to hire these employees.


Or.....even if they were to find a job right away, it would still be a week or two before they get their first paycheck. Just maybe these generous people can help them get buy until they get their next paycheck!


Just because there is a help wanted sign, doesn’t mean there is a similar position available, comparable wages, or work shifts that would allow them to care for other personal responsibilities like kids and elderly family members.

Let’s not forget to mention that some of the employees might be going through mental health situations because of the fire and “loss.” What some think is nothing, is their life and world to others. Is someone offering these services to the involved?

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