Windham – The New Year was barely a day old when long-time patrons gathered at T& J’s restaurant in Windham to say good bye and enjoy one last breakfast at the local eatery. Patrons stated that losing a morning place to gather, eat breakfast and catch up on local news is just another sign of the times and they hoped someone would consider opening another eatery in the same location soon. “It is truly a sad day in Windham as we see another business becomes a victim of the economy,” stated one resident, who just shook his head and said, “It is just a sad day.”

The restaurant-closing rumor began circulating earlier this week and was later confirmed late Friday by one of its employees. Owner Tim Goodwin said the closure is bittersweet. “I am sad about the closure but looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life. I have recently finished nursing school and I am scheduled to take my state boards later this month. Besides my full time job at the Ford Motor Company I plan on seeking part-time work as a nurse.” The owner cited the sluggish economy as the primary reason for closing the facility, however changes to his family dynamics over the past few years were also a contributing factor in his decision to permanently close the facility.  Goodwin stated that the last few months have been rough and the business started to decline when the economy tanked in 2009. The closure leaves nine employees out of jobs effective January 2, 2011 with four of the employees being Goodwin’s adult children.

Goodwin purchased the local eatery in 2005 when it was formerly known as Vi’s Family Restaurant. About nine months ago he relocated the restaurant from the old Dairy Queen building to the Shops of Windham. The Shops of Windham are located in the former Windham Pharmacy Facility next to the Sparkle Market. Tim said when he purchased the restaurant he was laid off from his full-time job and had time to run the eatery with his dad’s help.  Since that time, he started to pursue and has obtained a nursing degree, and was called back to his full time job, both responsibilities left him little time to run the business, especially when he was unable to be there.

When asked about hiring a manager to run the eatery he said it was considered but because of the economy they decided the best thing for them would be just to close. He also stated that he had several inquiries from folks who were interested in purchasing the eatery but no one was able to secure financing or come up with the funds needed to purchase the facility. I asked about the future of the building and he stated he was uncertain what the building owner’s plans were. (Calls to the building owner were not returned before press time.)

The restaurant was slated to close at 3 pm Sunday January 2, 2011 and leaves Windham without a sit down eatery. Prior to closing time Goodwin stated that he would auction off all his equipment and any remaining inventory to the public.

The equipment was purchased by Patti and Jim Moore and is being included with their property that is currently for sale on SR 303.