MUSCATINE — Tina Wilson came to work at Snackers 2 restaurant four years ago, hoping to gain work skills that would make her more employable.
She met her goal and now works at Taco John’s in Muscatine as well.
Wilson enjoys both her jobs and was sad to hear that this spring will be her last at Snackers 2.
A $100,000 operational deficit at the restaurant in 2012 led Goodwill of the Heartland, the agency that operates Snackers 2, to announce that it would close the downtown restaurant at 206 E. 2nd St.
Dana Engelbert, vice president of marketing for Goodwill of the Heartland, said Snackers 2 operated for years at a financial loss, but last year’s deficit became too steep.
“We can’t sustain a $100,000 loss,” she said.
The mission of Goodwill of the Heartland is to help people who have barriers to employment, including developmental and physical disabilities, become more independent.
For the past nine years, Snackers 2 has provided the nonprofit agency’s clients with on-the-job training in a social atmosphere.
Wilson said the 17-member staff at Snackers 2 has become like family to her.
She is especially grateful for the compassion and leadership of Snackers 2 manager Dianna Aguirre and job coach Stephanie Hartman.
“I felt sad and kind of hurt,” Wilson said. “I leave my job at Snackers next Thursday, and I’ll be at Taco John’s after that.”
Engelbert says Goodwill will help all the employees find jobs at other stores and businesses in the community, including Muscatine’s Goodwill store.
Snackers 2 employee Angela Collins of Muscatine said she feels confident she will find more work.
Since coming to work at Snackers 2 a year ago, Collins, 21, has learned how to make deliveries, run the cash register, help customers and set up tables.
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As they dined at Snackers 2 last week, customers Ingrid Rowe and Micki Tripp of Muscatine said they will miss the restaurant’s friendly staff and reasonably priced food.
Lyle Martz said the restaurant was a convenient and affordable stop when he used the downtown laundromat.
“I enjoy the food and the people,” Martz said. “It’s a nice place.”
Chris Krummel, a house leader for Optimae Life Services, often brought clients who have disabilities to Snackers 2.
“They like to come here,” she said. “And the food is good.”
Engelbert said there is not a firm closing date for Snackers 2, but it will be sometime in the spring.