WATERVILLE — Papa John’s pizza restaurant at 270 Kennedy Memorial Drive closed Monday with no warning, leaving about a dozen workers without jobs.

The owners and the regional supervisor were not available for comment Thursday, but employee Theresa Ratliff said she and other employees were shocked to learn the shop was closing — and were told by a higher-up that it was not making enough money.

“I was the opening manager Monday morning,” Ratliff said. “Me and my driver went in to open shop, and I met the regional manager there and the systems were down. I asked what’s going on and the next thing we know, the owner comes in and says, ‘Your day just got worse. We are officially closing.’ It was just like that.”

Ratliff, 36, of Oakland, said she loved her job and had been employed there five months.

“I made manager in 90 days,” she said. “I was excited. This was the first week I had gotten over 40 hours.”

An email sent Thursday morning to franchise owners Dennis DeWitt and Terry Tyler, doing business as The Maine Thing, was not immediately returned, nor were phone and email messages sent to Robert Prange, who supervised the business. He also supervises other Papa John’s outlets in Maine. The phone at the shop has been disconnected.

The approximately 1,650-square-foot building is owned by Bill Mitchell, who owns KMD Plaza, where it is located.

Mitchell said Thursday that he plans to clean up the building and put it up for lease within two or three months.

“I’m optimistic that I’ll find another really good tenant to lease that space,” Mitchell said. “I think it’s a really good space for retail, food service or an office. It’s a good location, good visibility, with good access at the traffic light.”

The building is across Kennedy Memorial Drive from Shaw’s Plaza.

City Clerk Patti Dubois said Thursday that DeWitt and Tyler’s annual license for the business expires May 31 this year. They renewed the license last May, but it is not clear how many years the pizza shop has been in business.

At the former Papa John’s site Thursday, the large glass windows and doors were taped over with brown paper and a light was on inside, but no cars were parked there and no one answered the door. A sign on the front of the business said, “This location has permanently closed. Thank you for your patronage throughout the years. Please visit one of our other five locations in Maine.”

Meanwhile, Ratliff, who is married and has children, said she has spoken with other employees who are having a tough time with the sudden job loss.

“One girl is completely devastated,” she said. “We all are. I have bills coming up.”

Ratliff said her 5-week-old puppy had been ill and died Monday but she still went to work, only to then learn she also had lost her job. “I had to go down the road and let one of our drivers go and tell him that he no longer had a job. It’s been rough for a lot of us.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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