The family that owns Don’s Lunch Van, a popular Westbrook eatery shut down Wednesday for nonpayment of state sales taxes, says it hopes to reopen the Main Street business.

But whether that is possible is still unclear, said Justin Richards, a family spokesman.

“Right now we are weighing all of our options and trying to figure out what is the most feasible route to take,” Richards said Saturday.

Richards’ grandparents, Don and Yvonne Richards, opened the business in 1976 and sold it in 2001. Their son and Justin Richards’ father, Jim Richards, bought it back in 2012.

Justin Richards said it has been a struggle to bring the business back to its former glory days when it was owned by his grandparents.

He said although business has doubled since his father bought the lunch van back, the slow winter months are a problem. He said for the past few months the family had to decide whether to pay the sales tax or pay their eight nonfamily employees.


“We were forced to choose which to pay and unfortunately sales tax payments fell behind,” Richards said.

He said the business owes $4,400 to Maine Revenue Services.

Don’s Lunch Van, which some Westbrook residents consider a city landmark, served burgers and its signature free condiments, daily from 11 a.m. to midnight, except Sundays, and until 2 a.m. on weekends.

Richards said his father is too distraught to talk publicly about the business’s financial struggles. Although the lunch van is doing double the business it did in 2012, it still wasn’t profitable. Richard said the business must pay two rents, one on the lunch van truck and another for the building behind it.

“We are a small family-owned business. We do not have a huge profit margin,” Richards said.

Richards also is employed as a juvenile program worker at Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland and his mother works as a bank teller, while his father runs the lunch van.

“When he took it over he wanted to bring it back to its heyday. This is not at all what he imagined happening,” Richards said.

He said his family loves the Westbrook community and appreciates all the support and well wishes it has received since the lunch van was shut down.

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