LEWISTON — The future of fast food in the Twin Cities seemed murky Wednesday as several stores across Lewiston and Auburn closed without notice.

Tim Hortons closed stores in both cities in the middle of the day, and a pair of Pizza Hut shut down at two Auburn locations.

Tim Hortons on Sabattus Street in Lewiston, closed. Same at the store on Center Street in Auburn, same up the hill on Minot Avenue.

“Thank you for your patronage,” read a sign posted in the window at the Center Street location. “We apologize for any inconvenience. This location is now closed.”

On Minot Avenue, the store was dark Wednesday night and workers were changing locks on the front door, according to a mystified customer.

At Tim Hortons headquarters in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, no easy answers were to be found. A representative said she had not heard of any mass closings in Maine and promised to look into it.

Meanwhile, Tim Hortons across Maine were closing their doors faster than you can dunk a coconut doughnut.

Tim Hortons closed six Maine coffee shops in 2013, the Lisbon Street restaurant in Lewiston among them.

On Wednesday, it was announced that two stores in South Portland were closing, a move that caught employees there off guard.

In the Twin Cities, nobody seemed to know that Tim Hortons would be closing its doors. Adding to the mystery was the fact that it appeared to be business as usual at some of the locations earlier in the day.

“I am sitting at a table at 1 p.m. today in Auburn drinking a green tea with a friend,” said Doug Taylor of Lewiston. “The place has a few people sitting eating lunch. It starts to clear out and leaves just me and my buddy left in the place. The lights go out and we are told to leave because the place is now closed! Thay post the doors while we walk to our cars. I guess we were the last ones to enjoy the place.”

“They were open at 5:30 this morning,” Lottie Lee of Greene said of the Minot Avenue location. “We go at least three times a day.”

Another woman said she had gone into the same store for tea earlier in the day.

By early Wednesday night, there was no further word from Tim Hortons’ corporate headquarters in Canada.

Meanwhile, Pizza Hut on Center Street has been closed for several days. Pizza Hut on Minot Avenue was closed and a recorded phone message advised callers that the closure was permanent.


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