WATERVILLE — Jerri Vaillancourt has managed different Tim Hortons throughout the state on-and-off for the past 15 years, and the Waterville location is the third to suddenly shut its doors on her, she said.

“I’m just baffled,” she said in a phone interview Tuesday.

The Tim Hortons on upper Main Street closed on New Year’s Eve with no clear explanation — just posted signs on the door and drive-thru window for patrons that read, “This Location is closed. Thank you for your patronage.” The bakery had about 15 employees.

Multiple requests sent Monday and Tuesday for interviews with the corporate offices have not been returned.

Vaillancourt said she previously worked at Tim Hortons in Norway, Scarborough, Windham and Westbrook owned by Shane and Rebecca Reigh. The couple owned eight locations, seven of which had closed before Waterville, according to Vaillancourt.

Vaillancourt said the owners barely tried to contact her about the Waterville closure and haven’t responded to her calls or messages since. Phone calls to both Shane and Rebecca Reigh were not returned Tuesday.

While Vaillancourt wasn’t expecting the closure on New Year’s Eve, she and her crew could see the writing on the wall, she said. “My workers could see that the owners did not care,” she said. “Everything in the store is broken, right down to our sandwich unit.”

Shane Reigh came to the store about an hour before closing time on New Year’s Eve and started to tear down the equipment, according to Vaillancourt, who was not there at the time but had heard from other employees what happened. When employees asked, he said the store was closing permanently. At that point, Vaillancourt said Reigh tried to call her once but didn’t leave a voicemail. She feels like the Reighs intentionally avoided her leading up to the closure, she said.

Shane Reigh hadn’t visited the store in four months, according to Vaillancourt, despite the desperate need for maintenance.

About 15 people worked at the bakery, and many didn’t have cars so Vaillancourt would drive them, she said. Many, including Vaillancourt, live paycheck to paycheck and are now unemployed for the new year.

“I feel bad for my crew more than anything,” she said. “We were a family.”

Vaillancourt has two children and provides the sole income for her household. She said she was salaried at Tim Hortons and toward the end would work up to 70 hours per week because the crew didn’t want to work for owners who didn’t care about the business. Vaillancourt previously lived in Rumford and moved to Waterville to run the Tim Hortons for the Reighs.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour


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