Theresa Dunn has a difficult time talking about the impending closure of her business, Jorgensen’s Cafe and Deli on Main Street in Waterville.

She worked for four owners of the cafe before buying it herself in 2017, has made many friends there and is sad to be leaving them, she said.

But it’s time. The coronavirus pandemic changed things. Some longtime patrons stopped coming. People aren’t out and about as much as they used to be, though there are still faithful customers who come every day, according to Dunn. Workers are difficult to find and keep, and there’s a lot of competition. To top it off, the price of everything, including groceries, rent, electricity and gas, has gone through the roof.

“It’s been a tough decision for me,” Dunn, 45, said through tears. “But it’s been fun, getting to know people, hearing their stories, watching them grow, watching their kids grow.”

As her daughter, Megan, worked the counter, Dunn said she plans to close the business around June 1.

“We’re going to sell off all the equipment, all the furniture, decorations,” she said. “And whatever minimal food we have left, we’ll probably donate to the homeless shelter so it doesn’t go to waste.”


Her tears were testament to the love she has for her patrons.

“We have so many, and they’re taking it really hard,” she said.

Open for breakfast and lunch, Jorgensen’s has been a staple in Waterville for 33 years, serving everything from breakfast sandwiches, homemade soups and salads to pastries and coffee.

Jon Jorgensen opened it in 1990 as Jorgensen’s Gourmet Goods in a small storefront downtown at 113 Main St., a couple of doors north of 103 Main St., where he eventually moved it. Jorgensen, then 23, was a Waterville High School and Colby College graduate and his business sold soup, freshly ground coffees, exotic jellies, herbal vinegars, fine cheeses, and foreign and domestic wines.

By 1992, the store outgrew its space and Jorgensen moved it to 103 Main, offering items including pasta, bulk foods, freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juices and a greater variety of coffees. More tables were provided for dining and Jorgensen expanded the cafe into an adjacent room. Dunn started working at the cafe in 2000 with no experience, and the family taught her the business.

Jorgensen eventually sold the cafe to Jeff and Abby Gordon, who in 2007 sold it to an aunt, Ginny Bolduc, and her husband, Steve. The Bolducs sold it in 2016 to Todd Robinson of California who bought it for his nephew, Joe Giardello of Albion.


Dunn bought the cafe in 2017 and in the summer of 2021, mid-pandemic, she moved it north to 220 Main St., a building that previously had housed a restaurant, a catering business and before that a flower shop.

In the dining room this week longtime patron Dot D’Alessandro, with book and newspapers, was enjoying a cup of coffee.

“I’m just so sad to think that it’s going to be closing,” she said. “I said to Theresa, ‘Where am I going to go now?’ There are other places, but it’s not the same.”

D’Alessandro, 80, a retired 25-year special education director for Waterville Public Schools, said Dunn and her family are thoughtful and kind, and cafe patrons are made to feel welcome.

A feature story ran in the Morning Sentinel on Jan. 10, 1991, about Jorgensen’s Gourmet Goods, later Jorgensen’s Cafe & Deli.

“It’s friendly, and safe,” she said. “I could go into the restroom and leave my purse here and never worry about a thing.”

Dunn says she wants to take a much-needed rest and try something different — working in a school, either as an education technician, secretary or possibly in the kitchen. She said the word has spread and employers have already reached out to her, though she hasn’t even applied.

For D’Alessandro, who knows schools well, Dunn will be an asset wherever she lands. A person can be trained in the skills needed for a certain job, but the qualities Dunn would bring to the table can’t be taught, according to D’Alessandro.

“I’d hire her in a minute,” she said.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 35 years. Her columns appear here weekly. She is the author of the book “Comfort is an Old Barn,” a collection of her curated columns, published in 2023 by Islandport Press. She may be reached at For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to

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