GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – Just weeks after the new Tim Hortons in Liberty closed and the franchiser directed customers to its location in Girard, that location is now closed too.
The owners of the franchise, TH Cleveland, made the announcement on their Facebook page Tuesday afternoon, posting the following:
Today is the last day of operations for the Tim Hortons Girard restaurant. We want to thank our loyal guests who have supported our Girard location. Please be assured Tim Hortons remains committed to growing the Tim Hortons brand in Northeast Ohio. Thank you for the opportunity to become a part of your community. Any inquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Much like the closing of the Liberty location, the employees at the Girard location on South State Street said they were not told ahead of time that the donut shop was closing.
TH Cleveland did not give an exact reason for the decision to close the Tim Hortons in Girard, but a spokesperson said closing both the stores was strategic and planned.
The Girard store opened in July 2019 and Liberty opened in March 2019.
So what went wrong? How did a chain with almost 4,600 stores worldwide miscalculate what would sell in the Valley?
Across from the Belmont Avenue store in Liberty, Plaza Donuts owner Amy Spencer speculated on why the Liberty Tim Hortons closed after just eight months.
“They’re using frozen stuff and they’re trying to decorate that up and serve that to the customer and I don’t think that was as well-received as they thought. When you’re in Youngstown, this is pretty much ruled by small business. I think there was a little bit of overconfidence in their brand recognition,” she said.
Girard Mayor Jim Melfi said there were eight cars at Tim Hortons on Monday, but he knew once the Liberty store closed, the Girard store might be in trouble.
“A franchise, which has usually deep pockets to maintain their status for a while, I never seen one close so quickly,” he said.
A local employee who’s in the coffee and donut business said for stores like these to close this quickly, they must have been losing a lot of money.
Still, Girard and Liberty are left with two brand new buildings that other businesses might be interested in occupying.
“It’s nice looking. It’s small enough that maybe a small business can take it over and maintain it,” Melfi said.
“They make nice buildings, that’s all I can say. It doesn’t seem like it needs a lot, so somebody can move in and kind of turnkey that. So that would be interesting to see what goes in there,” Spencer said.
Spencer said the first week the Liberty Tim Hortons opened, her store was unexpectedly busier than usual. She also noticed that just before the store closed, it was not all that busy.
The area has other Tim Hortons locations in Salem and East Liverpool.