COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- When the Sagebrush Steakhouse closed abruptly Monday, most of the restaurants 30-plus employees were caught off guard.
"My assistant manger called me Monday and told me our doors were shut," the restaurant's recently promoted general manager Mary Caster said.
Caster said she worked Sunday at the Southgate Square Shopping Center restaurant alongside members of her corporate team.
Those corporate team members were in Colonial Heights, she was told, to take inventory and collect serial numbers.
Caster said she was told the collection of that information was so the restaurant's equipment could be fixed.
Instead, when employees left Sunday night the doors were locked and later a "location closed" sign was put on the door.
"Some people actually went to work and there was a note on the door," Caster said. "You don't just put a note on the door to say we're closed."
Messages left with Sagebrush Steakhouse ownership to explain why the restaurant closed have not yet been returned.
Employees said they had no clue the closure was imminent.
"My shift leader called me at 9 a.m. and told me that none of us had jobs," server Sharon Bierman said. "I think it's ridiculous. We should have had some kind of warning."
For Bierman, losing her job means she will not be able to travel to attend her brother's funeral.
For Jordan Hewett, suddenly losing her job of five years was devastating.
"I worked up the chain," she said. "I had already made next week's work schedule."
The work schedule no longer applies as Hewett and her now former co-workers look to schedule job interviews at other restaurants.
"It was shady," she said of the closing.
Sagebrush Steakhouse operates multiple locations in North Carolina and Tennessee.
With the closing of the Colonial Heights location, the only remaining Sagebrush Steakhouse in Virginia, according to the restaurant's website, is located in Wytheville.
Employees at the Wytheville location said the restaurant was open normal hours Tuesday.