In 2019, Payless Shoes closed all of its 2,000 stores and cut 16,000 jobs. The fallout was difficult for their employees, as the benefits and pay they depended on literally disappeared. Since Payless’ closure in June 2019, hundreds of former Payless employees have reached out to Two Ten for assistance – with more continuing to call us everyday.
At Two Ten, our mission is to help our footwear-industry colleagues during unforeseen events just like this, when employees are facing a crisis. We are always here, ready with a hand up, to help footwear families through difficult times. Although help often takes the form of financial assistance, listening to employees who reach out to us and directing them to appropriate services, resources and referral care is often just as important.
For example, when Payless filed Chapter 11, Virginia, a store manager at the company, was out of a job she had held for 26 years. Shortly after the layoffs, Virginia was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. With her husband as the sole provider, she feared for her family’s financial security and reached out to Two Ten. With our assistance, she was able to focus on her treatment. “The compassion I received at Two Ten was overwhelming,” said Virginia. “There are still good people in this world… people who will take time, with a little kindness and effort, to try and make someone’s life better.”
You can see Virginia’s and some of our other clients’ stories, in the video below.
Other Payless employees have been quick to chime in across our various social media channels to share how Two Ten has helped them, too. One employee noted our legacy in the footwear industry: “With a poster in every store, many never knew what it was…In all my years I did my best to educate people about what that poster meant. A great organization that has helped many, including me.” Instances like these are deeply emblematic of why our work is so necessary: we give employees in crisis the support they need – in all of its forms – to get back on their feet.