TOPSHAM — After more than six years of serving sandwiches, soups and sweets from its Lower Village location, The Barn Door Café and Bakery has closed its doors.

Suzanne Mahar, the eatery’s owner, said the business closed Dec. 30.

“We needed to make a decision with the year end coming around whether we were going to invest additional funds to stay in this economic climate,” Mahar said Friday. “It was a matter of economics, really, and so we decided that at year end, we would indefinitely close our doors and let our customers know.”

Mahar said she is happy The Barn Door Café “can close on a good note where our customers still love and enjoy us, and they’re disappointed to see us go, rather than saying that we cut back, or made changes that affected our customers.”

“I really would like to thank my loyal customers who continue to support local businesses, and remind people of the importance of supporting local (businesses),” Mahar said.

The decision to close proved difficult, because it hurts local customers and her seven employees, she said.

“I have very supportive employees,” Mahar said. “ They show up every day wanting to do the best job they can for our success, and that was probably the hardest part.”

The business included catering services. Among Mahar’s clients were Mid Coast Hospital, Bowdoin College, various pharmaceutical companies and local people who host private gatherings, such as weddings.

One of the factors that led Mahar to close the Barn Door is that people are hosting smaller wedding parties and waiting longer to book summer weddings, which meant that Mahar’s business didn’t have deposits for those events to help it weather the winter’s slower business season.

A lot of that catering work fell off since September, Mahar said.

“I don’t feel there’s going to be very much change in the next year” in the economic climate, she said.

The Barn Door Café and Bakery, located at 4 Bowdoin Mill Island, opened in June 2005. It operated from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

The shop offered a full-service bakery and made “fresh everything from scratch on property,” from the baked breads to the soups.

“I just wasn’t willing to sacrifice that aspect of it, or cut the hours,” Mahar said of the prospect of scaling back to stay in business.

“ We certainly were prepared for the demise of the stock market in 2007 … but over the four- year period, (business) has been fairly stable up until the last six months,” Mahar said. “ I think people are just feeling the pinch and knowing there’s no end in sight at this point, so they’re cutting back on their eating out.”

There are a lot of successful businesses in this area and “ we’ve spread the wealth,” Mahar said, but every time a new restaurant opens, it spreads that wealth thinner because “ the customer base is only so big.”

Mahar acknowledged Friday that her original business plan incorporated occupation of the 30,000-square-foot Red Mill next to the café. That didn’t happen.

Mahar said she plans to place the business on the market within the next week, with some equipment and inventory already on hand. RE/MAX Riverside of Topsham will represent Mahar in the sale, she said, and anyone interested can contact Mike Hamilton there.

“It’s a really good business and we’re going out on top of our game and not with a bad reputation, and I’m really happy about that aspect,” Mahar said.

Asked what she’ll do next, Mahar replied, “I’m really not sure. I’m going to just digest this whole thing one day at a time and see what the future holds. I think it’s time to step back and just reassess.”

Mahar lives in Topsham and her children are in school there, “so I’m still busy.”

Her pastry chef, Angela Ellsmore of Brunswick, was a great addition to the bakery, she said.

One of her managers, Charlene Tuplin, is setting forth with her own business venture named Run With Soup, Mahar said. Tuplin will likely offer those soups from Run With Soup on Bailey Island.

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