By: Christy Hendricks
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Disappointing economic news hits the local trucking industry.
Elfrink Transportation in Cape Girardeau shut down Wednesday leaving more than 50 employees without work just before Christmas.
Two former drivers say they didn't know of the shut down until after it happened.
"They didn't even give us the pink slip. They didn't give us nothing," said Rodger Rice of Sikeston. Rice drove a truck for Elfrink Transportation for a year.
He called in to work last Wednesday to find out where he would run to the next day.
"I said I had heard like a day before that they were going to close up. I asked him about it and he said 'Yea, today's the last day,'" Rice said.
That's the same way fellow driver Mike Decker found out he lost his job.
"I've been in the business for 33 years and I've seen companies close. Like I said earlier I just wish there was a little bit more warning you know of it happening so we could have more time to find other jobs or more means to take care of our families," Decker said.
Gulfstream Express out of South Carolina recently acquired a majority ownership of Elfrink Transportation.
Gulfstream's CEO Bob Lewis says Elfrink Transportation defaulted on loans to a bank in Madison, Wisconsin. The bank closed the business on Wednesday and will liquidate the trucking company's assets.
Lewis pointed out that all the 50 plus employees at the Cape Girardeau, Memphis and St. Louis locations will receive "every cent owed to them."
The timing, however, couldn't be worse.
"It's just devastating," Decker said. "Your're looking at a week before Christmas."
"Signed up for unemployment last night, but you can't make it on unemployment," Rice said.
Lewis also said that he had never met more hardworking people than in Cape Girardeau and that they were a pleasure to work with.