February 22nd , 2013 10:00 am Leave a comment

Owner says he can’t afford to remain; longtime staff, customers ponder future

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After more than 26 years of serving seafood in Elizabethton, the Mayflower Seafood Restaurant will close its doors for good this Sunday.

Photo by Brandon HicksThe wait staff at the Mayflower Seafood Restaurant will be out of work come Sunday when the restaurant will close its doors. Some of them had been working at the Mayflower for over 20 years.

Photo by Brandon Hicks
The wait staff at the Mayflower Seafood Restaurant will be out of work come Sunday when the restaurant will close its doors. Some of them had been working at the Mayflower for over 20 years.

Mayflower owner Bobby Hodges said he regretted the closing, but he could no longer afford to stay.

“It’s hard to leave,” Hodges said. “We’ve done really, really well here. But it’s the right thing to do at this time, financially.”

This will be the second time in as many months that a business will be leaving the Betsytowne Shopping Center.
Hometown IGA grocery closed on Dec. 22. With the Mayflower also departing, that leaves Little Caesar’s pizzeria, Peak Brothers Gun & Pawn, and H&R Block as the only occupants of the 56,187-square-foot shopping center.

“If we were to stay, I’d have to invest a lot of money in the facilities,” Hodges said. “With everybody leaving the shopping center, that’s not an investment I want to make.”

Hodges’ father, George, opened the Mayflower in September of 1985. Nine months later, Helen Stevens was hired, and there she would remain … until Sunday.

“This is about all I’ve ever known,” Stevens said. “We have between 25 and 30 employees here. Some of us have been here over 20 years. I don’t know what they’re going to do.”

Jeannette Barnett has been serving at the Mayflower for 22 years. Although she has experience in other fields, she said she will miss the Mayflower’s atmosphere.

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