The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

October 29, 2012

Employees excited to return to old jobs at Jim Bob’s

JOPLIN, Mo. — Emily Knight is picky when it comes to jobs. A server at Jim Bob’s Steak and Ribs in Joplin, she prefers to work for locally owned restaurants instead of corporate-owned chains or franchises.

“I can be myself,” Knight said. “Other places, there are just rules, rules, rules. We have rules here, too, but the owners want us to be personable and relate with people more, instead of acting like a robot.”

Knight said that her bosses, owners Steve and Stacey Gamble, also stick up for their employees and have their backs when dealing with difficult customers. There’s a feeling of mutual loyalty, she said.

So much so that when the May 22, 2011, tornado destroyed the restaurant’s building at 20th Street and Range Line Road, she just knew they would reopen.

Knight isn’t the only employee who waited to get his or her job back. Manager Casey Welch, who was a server at the old location, said most of the staff was just waiting to get a chance to work at Jim Bob’s again Ñ even when the owners themselves didn’t quite know how to reopen.

“That was the sense I got, that a lot of employees felt that way,” Welch said. “We all love this place and love the Gambles, so there was a hope. But it was nerve-racking.”

Job search

Knight, a mother of three, lives near Carl Junction. She and her family were out of the tornado’s path on May 22, 2011, but she and her boyfriend drove into the damage zone to help out. She dropped him off at Parr Hill Park and didn’t see him again until after 10 p.m. at Ozark Christian College.

While she was unable to see Jim Bob’s, he was, and he later told her that the restaurant had been badly damaged.

Knight and other employees met at the wreckage soon after the tornado, where they helped with cleanup efforts. She said they salvaged as much as they could, including the restaurant’s legendary taxidermied animals.

Welch said employees got paid for cleanup shifts whenever they wanted to work. But eventually people started finding work elsewhere Ñ Welch started working behind the bar at Applebee’s in Joplin.

Knight got a job at a corporate-owned restaurant, but it didn’t work out. She took a seasonal job with UPS making deliveries and picked up occasional shifts at Butcher’s Block Banquet Center.

Her next job was  a position assisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency. After volunteering at Forest Park Baptist Church’s Mission Joplin, she received an appointment of 1,040 hours through the agency.

“I started volunteering there, and that got me to one of the FEMA jobs,” Knight said. “I was in the clothing house where there were clothes, clothes and more clothes.”

Though she said she was lucky to find work, bills got tighter in the months after the tornado. Though she didn’t know what to do, she held out hope that the Gambles would reopen.

“It was a horrible waiting game,” Knight said. “Considering I wasn’t used to living paycheck to paycheck, if I needed money I could always pick up a shift. We made pretty good money.”

Welch said the Gambles told employees that they would reopen, even though they were in as much shock as everyone else. But as the months went by, uncertainty grew.

“They told us from the beginning that they would rebuild, but they didn’t know exactly when,” Welch said. “We just waited on them to give us the go-ahead. But then they put the land up for sale, and a lot of us thought they wouldn’t reopen.”

Text Only
Globe Life
  • 041314_cj glass1.jpg Carl Junction students create projects, win awards at national contest with glass arts

    The students are part of a new glass arts class at Carl Junction High School taught by Jessica Sellars, a graduate of the school who earned her bachelor's degree from Missouri Southern State University and her masters of art education from Pittsburg State University. The art teacher taught for 20 years at Coronado High School, located in Henderson, Nev.

    April 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • ryan richardson Ryan Richardson: K-9 unit receives protection from donors

    I know I write a lot about pet advocacy in this column, but for a moment, I want to write about pet heroes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 091108-Frankie-Meyer_c.jpg Frankie Meyer: Website helps locate library microfilms

    Family history researchers must be determined sleuths to learn about some ancestors who don't show up in easily-obtained records. This week, I learned about a free resource that will help in the search of elusive ancestors.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_032123610 Patty Crane: Reporter's mea culpa found in identity theft

    As I was browsing the library's list of new materials for March, "True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa" by Michael Finkel caught my attention.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • 091108-Frankie-Meyer_c.jpg Frankie Meyer Website helps locate library microfilms

    Family history researchers must be determined sleuths to learn about some ancestors who don't show up in easily-obtained records. This week, I learned about a free resource that will help in the search of elusive ancestors.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_312124454 Linda Cannon: Gardening book helps plan for spring

    In springtime, many of us think of gardening, so, come snow or sleet or whatever, it's time to get into those gardening books and see what improvements can be made to our yards (or decks or patios if that's all you have).

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • ryan richardson Ryan Richardson: Pet deposits legal in Missouri, vary by state

    Building upon last week's column about what goes into moving and renting with pets, I wanted to touch on something that I wasn't too sure a lot of people were familiar with. I had a few people ask me about the legalities of a pet deposit and how it applies to residents in Missouri.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • 091108-Frankie-Meyer_c.jpg Frankie Meyer: Website allows access to news archives

    Between 1982 and 2011, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress worked together to develop a program called "Chronicling America." Each year, NEH gave monetary awards to institutions in various states to digitize 100,000 pages of old newspapers that relate to each state's history.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • 040214 LIFE barbershop2_c.jpg Barbershop choirs grow in popularity thanks to singing TV shows, pop culture

    Singers call it the "angel's voice." The phenomenon occurs when a group of singers reach an identical chord, voices blended together as one, the harmonics justly tuned and balanced, creating a new frequency of sound that can "literally raise up the hair on the arm," said Don Snow.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • 091108-Frankie-Meyer_c.jpg Frankie Meyer: Berries were big business in Southwest Missouri history

    Recently, I noticed some blooms on my strawberry plants on the patio, and I was reminded of my youth in the Ozarks when children often earned money by picking strawberries in the fields of local farmers. I, along with my sisters, brother and all the other children in the area, looked forward to the experience each summer.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

Facebook
Poll

A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
NDN Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case