Massage Heights shutdown rubs Hixson employees the wrong way

Wednesday, a group of Massage Heights employees came to work at Northgate Mall to find the business shut down.

Several people are out of a job, right before the holidays.

Wednesday, a group of Massage Heights employees came to work at Northgate Mall to find the business shut down.

The store posted a sign, announcing it's closed permanently.

In a statement, the Massage Heights corporate office said the Hixson closure was "a complete surprise."

This morning, workers couldn't even get inside to pick up their licenses and other belongings.

Daphne Swafford is a massage therapist. She said, "We worked last night, and when we got off work we looked at Facebook and found out our business was closed."

The fact that the closure comes just weeks before Christmas is what has many of the mothers panicking.

Kayla West is anxious about how she's are going to put presents under the tree for her sweet kids.

"We had a few on layaway, and I was actually going to take my paycheck this week to pay off the layaway to get those out," she said.

But, she and her coworkers say they didn't get paid last week. Most of them are out nearly a thousand dollars.

That leaves lingering uncertainty about whether any money will come in time to pay for Christmas.

"So, not really sure how we're going to be able to pull that off now," West said.

It's not just employees affected. The workers say the business had sold nearly $7,000 in gift cards already this holiday season and now people can't use them in Hixson.

However, Massage Heights says people can redeem the certificates at any of its locations, including one on Gunbarrel Road. It is owned by a different person than the one at Northgate Mall.

See Massage Heights' full statement below:

Yesterday, Massage Heights Franchising was made aware that the local franchisee of the Northgate Mall retreat, CLK Management, LLC, would close the location effective Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. This came as a complete surprise and we are working diligently to inform Northgate Mall employees, members, and guests of the situation.
All services and credits will be honored at Massage Heights on Gunbarrel Road, which is owned and operated by local franchisee CHATTZ’s Massage, Inc. and has served the Chattanooga community for over six years. All gift cards can be redeemed at any of Massage Heights Franchising’s 150+ locations nationwide, including the Gunbarrel Road location.
Massage Heights Franchising is in the process of collecting contact information for the Northgate Mall employees to inform them of their options for collecting compensation owed. Each franchise location is independently owned and operated, and as a former employee of CLK Management, LLC, employees will be provided contact information for the local franchisees, Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development to file an official complaint, and how to file for unemployment benefits. Legally, Massage Heights Franchising cannot compensate or participate in any form of management of franchisees’ employees.

Update: From Massage Heights spokeswoman Ashley Davidson:

The Massage Heights Family Fund has jumped in to provide a $500 grant to each employee of the Northgate Mall location, and several franchise owners around the country have stepped up to raise additional funds to help.
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