If you travel on Western Avenue in Augusta, like thousands of people do everyday, you have driven by it numerous times. The exterior of the building has been done for weeks. The inside looks ready to go. The parking lot has been paved and parking lines have been painted in. It is being plowed out after every storm. So why hasn't the Taco Bell on Western Avenue in Augusta opened yet?

Good question. And it's one that is not easily answered.

According to an article in the Kennebec Journal in November, the Taco Bell on Western Ave has been issued a certificate of occupancy from the city of Augusta, but it didn't yet have its victualers license.

I called the city clerk in Augusta to find out if she knew of any reasons why this Taco Bell hadn't opened yet, and she didn't know. I also asked if they had applied for their victualers licence yet, and she stated that as of January 5, they had not applied for their licence.

A call to the Augusta Code Enforcement Office confirmed that the building has a valid occupancy permit, and the only thing stopping it from opening was the victualers licence.

We reached out to the corporate offices of Taco Bell and a company representative told us they had no information on the new Augusta store and that the location did not even appear on the company's list of restaurants. But while there is no listing for the Western Ave store in the company's information, there are two jobs posted for the 230 Western Ave location on Taco Bell's career website.

However, Taco Bell is not the listed owner of the new Augusta store, that is the franchise owner, which according to the job listing, is a company called C2C East.

We were unable to find contact information for the offices of C2C East. On the building permit filed for the city, it indicates the company is located in Los Angeles, Calif., but there is no phone number or any contact information listed. According to information from an online real estate listing for the Waterville location, C2C East LLC is operated by a man named Tony Frazier, who "is actively involved with 72 stores in Southern California," which include several Taco Bells and Taco Bell/KFC combos.

We reached out to the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce to find out if they knew anything or had any answers. We were told that they had heard that Taco Bell was having trouble staffing the restaurant and that the district manager is rarely in Augusta to set up interviews, though this has not been officially confirmed.

Augusta Mayor David Rollins told us he had heard about the staffing issue, too, but pointed out the nearby Five Guys Burgers which just opened and had no problems staffing their restaurant.

An internet search indicated that C2C East has leases on at least three other Taco Bell locations in Maine. Those are located at: 1363 Washington St., Portland; 345 Upper Main Street, Waterville and 458 Center Street in Auburn. None of those locations appears as active, open restaurants on Taco Bell's location page. The current Taco Bell locations on Civic Center Drive in Augusta and Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville are owned by a different franchisee and have no connection to C2C East.

While there are jobs listed on the Taco Bell career website for both the Auburn and Waterville C2C East Taco Bells, other job pages found in an internet search lead to links that indicate the job is no longer available. And a search listing for jobs at a site with the address c2cfoodjobs.com leads to a page that no longer exists.

So the question remains unanswered!

But if you are craving some Taco Bell, the store in Waterville on KMD and also the store on Civic Center Drive in Augusta are both open for your fix.


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