Longtime employee taking over Governor’s Restaurant & Bakery

Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 6:57 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 11, 2023 at 3:16 PM EDT
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OLD TOWN, Maine (WABI) - After over 40 years of leadership, Governor’s Restaurant and Bakery will transition into new ownership.

However, the iconic Maine staple won’t stray away far from tradition.

“I’m having all kinds of emotions right now. I’m full of anxiety, happiness, fret, but most importantly, I’m just excited for the brand and all the people that have worked for us. And for me, I guess over the years, it’s just, it’s a great opportunity for both Jason and myself,” said Randy Wadleigh, current owner.

Wadleigh has led the five restaurants for 35 years with a sixth location in Presque Isle that is independently owned.

While searching for someone to take over the company, Wadleigh had a better idea to transition ownership to longtime employee Jason Clay.

Clay has been with Governor’s for 17 years and plans to continue the restaurants legacy for the Maine community.

“There’s a lot to carry on. I mean, we, our commitment to the community, our commitment to our team members to our guests. Those are the things I want to carry on, obviously, you know, our recipes, you know, we want to continue to, to provide the same home cooked food that we have for 64 years and, you know, continue to kind of innovate as as we can and create new homestyle dishes that our guests love to have,” Clay said.

As for Wadleigh, he is ready to enjoy retirement.

What are you most looking forward too?

“Not answering any phones,” Wadleigh said.

He also says that handing over the reins isn’t easy, but working together with Clay will provide the easiest transition. Wadleigh has this advice for navigating the restaurant business.

“Do the right things, treat people with respect, pay your bills and taxes and enjoy the moment. I mean, it’s always something, the best thing, about the restaurant business is it’s a challenge every day. I’m not familiar with other businesses, but I think that in this business, it’s always something and he embraces that every day already and he’ll be fine,” Wadleigh said.

“You know, we want to continue to do things the right way. Continue the recipes that we have, you can be confident that you will stay true to our mission and and we’ll continue to look at new ways that we can grow and I mean, does that mean more Governor’s restaurants someday? Maybe it does. Maybe it means some different things,” Clay said.