New restaurants buck the trend of closures

Despite the many restaurants closing nationwide, a few in the area are opening their doors for the first time.
Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 6:01 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - “Are we still going to go through with this? What’s our plan now?”

Kim Hopper did have second thoughts about following her dream to open a sandwich shop but ultimately decided to start Bangor Sandwich Company downtown where Jersey’s Subs & Sweets used to be.

“It was just a good time. My job laid me off, so I had all the time in the world.”

She says the pandemic has caused delays in everything from permits to equipment deliveries, but she hopes to open soon.

“Everyone has been really good, and our neighbors have been really good helping us with any questions that we have. We’ve never done this before, so we have a lot of questions.”

Jersey’s Subs moved across the river into Brewer. They’re now on Center St. in the building previously occupied by Logical Sip.

“When the pandemic hit in March, we made the decision to close Bangor permanently." says owner Jason Coleman. "80 to 85 percent of our customers are people who work downtown, and then they started working remotely. It was tough to close Bangor, but the move over here has been good. Fortunately for us, we had built in clientele that knew us.”

Coleman says he’s had to keep reduced hours to compensate for the limited traffic flow but is returning to normal hours on Monday.

“It’s been rather difficult trying to get the business up and running.”

Ashlee Leighton and Jennifer Torrey are co-owners of a new sports bar and grill in Brewer called Ronco’s and an event center dubbed The Loft. They’re located on Clisham road behind KFC/Taco Bell.

They applied for a business license in March.

“COVID hit right then, and so they pushed us way to the back burner. .”

They’re open now, hoping to attract customers looking for a family friendly experience but say things have been slow.

“Because we were a new business, we weren’t able to get any funding that other current businesses were able to get because of COVID.” says Leighton.

Despite the challenges, there are words of encouragement for others on the same path.

“Pull in the people that care enough to help you succeed." says Leighton. "Just don’t give up.”

“I mean..." says Hopper, "You gotta follow your dreams, right?”

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