Community Rallies for Laid-Off Employee

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CAVE JUNCTION, Ore. — A rally was held at a ShopSmart store in Southern Oregon on Friday for an employee who was laid-off after decades of service.

The assistant manager says he was told, without much of a reason, that he was no longer an employee at the store. Bob Stafford believes he’s being laid off because of the company’s decision to file for bankruptcy.

Brookings-based C&K Markets owns grocery stores across Oregon and Northern California. Those stores include ShopSmart, Ray’s Food Place and Lo Bucks.

Bob was laid off, and his manager was transferred to Rogue River. On Friday, friends and community members stood by Bob to support him.

“Why should he have to go, because another store lost their business and bring them out here? We all live here in the valley,” said Cave Junction resident Cecilia Sexton.

“It’s touching to me…for people… all the comments on Facebook, and all of the support from our town. I’m just a guy who worked in a grocery store. I didn’t’ expect this,” said Bob.

Two weeks ago, ShopSmart approved bob’s medical leave so he could get surgery done on his neck. Now that he no longer works for the company, he doesn’t know if he’ll get health insurance coverage for that operation.

Bob was planning on retiring after about two years at ShopSmart. He said he does want to find a job locally; he has one more year left to pay off his home.