LAKELAND, TN (WMC) - Wednesday was the end of the line after 21 years for family-owned Funtime Learning Center.
Teachers said it was chaotic when the daycare announced it would close without any warning.
"Kids that were there were confused, the parents didn't understand, all the staff was crying," said Kelcey Gorman, a teacher at Funtime Learning Center.
"I feel like I was punched in the stomach, there was nothing I could do," said Tashika Bivins, a teacher at Funtime Learning Center.
These teachers are upset about losing a job they were passionate about, but moreover, they said they're owed weeks of back pay.
"I got an email from my bank this morning saying that a check I had deposited earlier in the month has since bounced," Gorman said.
"I live in a place where I have to pay every week, and if I don't pay, then where do I stay?" Bivins said.
On top of that, they said parents are left scrambling to find a replacement daycare, and the children are shocked and upset.
"That's why there are a lot of people that are angry right now," Bivins said. "She could have given us some kind of notice, anything."
Owner Lisa Naquin admits there wasn't any notice.
"We understand their frustration," Naquin said.
After a steep decline in enrollment and rising rent costs, they couldn't make ends meet. A potential deal with a buyer fell apart just this week.
Tuesday night, Naquin's lawyers told her she had to file bankruptcy. In bankruptcy, she hopes the teachers get their pay back.
"I don't have any money to pay anybody with," Naquin said. "I wish I could wave a magic wand and fix it--I can't. And I'm really sad about that."
For everyone involved, this experience has been extremely emotional.
"The building that we were in doesn't define us," Gorman said through tears. "We're going to keep in touch, we're going to do everything we can to make sure these kids get the education they need and that they get to see their friends and that we're not gone."
"To think about driving by it every day and knowing it's not Funtime anymore it's going to be really hard," Naquin said, getting emotional.
On Sunday, the Funtime Learning Center is continuing with a liquidation sale that started this weekend.