This week in the Buzz: A closure and one tough cookie.

Cafe LA in the Auburn Public Library closed abruptly after a record-breaking sales week last week.

Owner Dan Gagnon said Thursday that running it and his three other businesses just got to be too much.

“With the enormous amount of time and work that goes into all of them, I have not been able to find a healthy life balance,” he said.

It was a difficult decision, but he made the call this week. Gagnon bought Cafe LA two years ago. Sales had been strong, the business was profitable and the customer base had been growing, he said.

“I put Cafe LA on the market a few months ago and received a great deal of interest,” Gagnon said. “However, none of the interested buyers were qualified.” 

He’s still holding out hope: Gagnon will keep looking for a new buyer through next week before selling off the assets.

“One of my other businesses is requiring a great deal of my time right now,” he said. “If this wasn’t the case, I certainly would have held out for a buyer as opposed to closing. As a matter of fact, last week we broke records in restaurant sales as well as catering sales and our Thursday night comedy show was sold out a week in advance.”

If a buyer doesn’t emerge, he’ll sell his popular fresh-roasted coffee somewhere else in the Twin Cities, Gagnon said.

But did he get her vote?

It’s not exactly business news, but it was told at a business venue — and it’s pretty funny.

New University of Southern Maine President Glenn Cummings opened the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday with a story about hitting the campaign trail with local legislator Mike Carey several years ago.

Cummings took one Lewiston street, Carey took the next one over.

“We’re going door to door telling everybody how great he is and getting a good response,” Cummings said. “How can you go wrong? Local kid, who’s, like, this handsome lawyer, really charming, went to Dartmouth.

“My last house on the block, I’m just feeling really good and I run up to the porch, across the porch, and I realize that every single step I’d just taken, I stuck a little bit to the porch,” he said. “I look back and I see my footprints in the newly painted porch. Behind this darkened screen is a woman and all I can hear is the voice, and the voice is, ‘Go away! I can’t believe you did that!’ She’s screaming at me.”

Cummings apologized profusely and immediately offered to repaint it. The woman lived alone, it had taken her all day to finish.

“‘No, no, just go away; I hate you’ — I’m glad I’m helping Mike’s political career,” he said while everyone in the room laughed.

Finally, she opened her door enough to hand him a paint can and a brush.

“It took me about 15 to 20 minutes and I repainted the entire porch while I talked to her about health care, education, economic development and at the very end, I handed it back,” Cummings said. “She said, ‘I’ll think about voting for him.’ The people up here are pretty tough.”

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or [email protected]


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