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7/24/2013 2:00:00 PM
Davis Island Grill Closing
By Dominik Lobkowicz

After 20 months in business, the Davis Island Grill in Edgecomb will close its doors on Sunday, July 28. John Smigielski, who co-owns the restaurant with Mark McGuy, cites a loss of over a quarter of a million dollars in sales due to a sign dispute as one of the reasons for closing.

Smigielski said in an interview July 23 the Grill's sales are down by over of a quarter of a million dollars since last December, when, he alleges, the executive board of the Sheepscot Harbor Resort Village Condominium Homeowner Association turned off the power to the restaurant's sign and removed the strips that would hold letters on the marquee sign.

Without a lit sign, people think the restaurant is closed, Smigielski said.

"It makes this corner look dark," he said. "No matter how much you light the building."

Smigielski said attempts to get the lighting and lettering strips restored to the sign were unsuccessful.

Attempts to reach members of the executive board for comment were unsuccessful, but David Sinclair, a Bath attorney representing the Sheepscot Harbor Village and Resort, confirmed the restaurant was renting from an association member and said there were violations of the group's bylaws.

"There were some violations of the association bylaws and those violations were addressed with the association member," Sinclair said. "Davis Island Grill may have chosen to depart rather than come into compliance with the bylaws or perhaps for other business reasons. The association wishes the Davis Island Grill the best in their future endeavors."

"I can't keep moving forward on a business that just doesn't make any money," Smigielski said. He and McGuy operate not only the restaurant in Edgecomb, but also Huber's Market in Wiscasset and Rooster's Coal Fired Pizza in Augusta.

"That's a profitable restaurant," Smigielski said of Rooster's, "and we've opened Huber's Market and that's doing well."

With the closing of Davis Island Grill, the partners' focus will be on the other two businesses, Smigielski said.

"Mark and I are actually going to work that market because we're tired for working for almost two years and not being able to pay ourselves," he said.

Of the Grill's roughly 12 employees, one or two will go to work at Huber's Market and most of the others have accepted positions at Rooster's, Smigielski said. Only one or two bartenders who only pick up the occasional shift will lose their positions due to the restaurant closing, he said.

"We welcome all our customers to come visitors us at Rooster's in Augusta or come by Huber's Market and see us," Smigielski said. "We're still around; we're just repositioning our energies into businesses that actually make some money."

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