AUBURN —  Taco Bell franchises in Auburn and Portland are among four Maine locations that have abruptly closed.

Sign on the door of the Taco Bell on Center Street in Auburn in early January. (Sun Journal photo)

The company’s website no longer lists the Auburn location, as well as restaurants located at Western Avenue in Augusta, Washington Avenue in Portland, and Alfred Street in Biddeford.

Potential Taco Bell customers in Auburn last week were greeted with a short message in the window, stating, “Sorry for your inconvenience, but will be back soon, better than ever.”

According to a Journal Tribune article Thursday, a similar note has been posted in the window of the Biddeford location.

On Friday morning, the Maine Department of Labor sent out a news release stating it has scheduled Rapid Response sessions “for workers affected by possible layoffs” at the four Taco Bell locations.

“Workers who have lost their jobs may be eligible to collect unemployment insurance and for additional services,” the release states.

The sessions are scheduled throughout next week in Augusta, Biddeford, Portland and Lewiston. The Lewiston session is at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, at the Lewiston CareerCenter, 5 Mollison Way.

The state’s Rapid Response offers information about health insurance options and re-employment assistance, in addition to answering questions about unemployment benefits.

Affected employees with questions about unpaid wages can contact the Maine Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division at 623-7900.

The Auburn location opened in February 2017 at the former Tim Horton’s site.

A city news release at the time described the new location as “larger than most of their stores — the largest in Maine, in fact — and may be the largest in New England.”

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Hugo Cardenas, Taco Bell’s director of operations in Maine, stood with Auburn city officials.

Attempts by the Sun Journal to reach Cardenas have been unsuccessful.

According to the city’s records, the building at 458 Center St. is owned by an LLC based in Pittsford, New York.

In June 2018, the Taco Bell location in Waterville abruptly closed without notice, owing more than $44,000 in rent.

filed under: