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Parnelli's owner gives the last month of profits to employees, before closing

The business that opened a month and a half before COVID hit is now closing its doors, with a parting gift to the employees.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — 2020 is not known as the year things opened up. For Parnelli's Chicago Eatery, it was. 

About a month before the pandemic began, Patri Marconi opened the doors at Parnelli's for the first time. On Saturday night, the doors were closed for good. 

Marconi said she was bringing what she loved about Chicago to southern Indiana. 

"Not being able to do that?" she pondered, "That's the part that's going to be hard."

Marconi said the pandemic weighed on the restaurant. 

Federal aid and local loans helped them stay afloat but there just weren't enough customers coming in. 

The ones that did were loyal fans. The food was good, the staff was kind, and they even had a tik tok, but that just wasn't enough. 

So, at the beginning of October, Marconi sat down with her employees and told them the end was near. She also promised to give them the profits for the month. 

On Saturday, she handed out over a thousand dollars to employees that have been there since day one, along with an encouraging note about their strengths.

"The owner is probably the best person I ever worked for," Dakota Edwards said.

He was the night shift supervisor, hired a few months after they opened. He described his boss as a friend who cared for him. He talked to her about losing his mother and family struggles.

"Family probably is the best thing to call it," he said. He noted that was a little cliché, but true.

Marconi said if there is a takeaway from this story, it's that you should support locally-owned restaurants. 

When you do, "make a note on your fridge to go back." 

That way her neighbors, your neighbors, can keep their dream alive.

► Contact reporter Tom Lally at TLally@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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