Downtown Bangor denizens were likely surprised over the holiday weekend to discover that coffee and sandwich shop Giacomo’s was closed, with paper up over the windows and little notice given to customers or staff.
Though word spread via social media that the business was closed for good, owner Brett Settle said on Tuesday morning that that was not the case — Giacomo’s is closed for renovations and will reopen at some point in the coming months.
“We are renovating and restructuring and basically giving it a whole facelift,” said Settle, who also owns Brahma Grill on Hammond Street. “The plan isn’t really to change the concept outright, but after seven and a half years it needs a kick in the pants.”
Settle did not offer a concrete timetable as to when a renovated Giacomo’s would reopen, but that he expected it likely to be within the next six months.
“It’s up in the air. We’re gutting it and cleaning it and seeing what changes we can make,” said Settle. “It’s better to be closed in the dead of winter than in the middle of June…It could be six weeks. It could be six months. Things often take longer than you expect. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and it wasn’t really a great shopping season, so this is the time to do it.”
Staff members were notified on Friday evening that the eatery would be closed for the near future and that they were out of a job. Settle said he hopes to hire his staff back if they are available when they reopen.
“I have no idea if they’ll be able to come back, but if they are I’d love to hire them back,” he said. “They are the best staff ever and I’d love to have them back.”
Settle said he wasn’t surprised by the strong customer reaction to his business’ sudden closure.
So what's the story with Giacomo's? Anyone know?
— Christina Caron (@cbcaron) December 27, 2016
— Gibran Graham (@GibranGraham) December 24, 2016
“Anytime you do this it’ll come as a surprise. I closed for my birthday once and people got upset. You mess with people’s routines and they get all bent out of shape,” said Settle. “I remember when we moved the coffee from one side of the place to the other, and people lost their minds. It’s a tightknit community and word spreads fast.”
Customers with outstanding gift cards or coffee cards will have to wait to use them — ideally, when Giacomo’s reopens it’ll be business as usual and gift and coffee cards will be used as before. Settle said if it looks as though the business will be closed for more than a few months he’ll devise a plan to reimburse customers.
“I’ll figure out a plan,” said Settle.
Maine does not have a specific law regarding what measures businesses have to take regarding gift cards or other forms of pay-in-advance purchases in the event of a business closing. According to Martha Currier of the Maine Attorney General’s Office, businesses have no obligation to provide notice that they are closing. If customers wish to file a complaint regarding outstanding gift cards, they are welcome to email or call the AG’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-436-2131.