MASSENA - As part of a North American-wide closure of 155 restaurants, Sbarro has closed its Massena location located inside St. Lawrence Centre.
St. Lawrence Centre Marketing Manager Ronald J. Patnode said he has yet to hear official word that Sbarro is closing.
I found out the same way you did, through the rumor mill at the mall, Mr. Patnode said. We have not been notified by Sbarro of their pending closure.
Employees of the restaurant deferred comment, noting they were fearful of losing their back pay and severance packages if they spoke about the closure.
Mr. Patnode said Sbarro was an original tenant of the mall, who completed a renovation of their storefront roughly five years ago.
For us, St. Lawrence Centre, its disappointing, he said. We certainly didnt need this.
In addition to the customers and employees impacted by the restaurants closure, Mr. Patnode said the malls birthday party packages at St. Lawrence Centre Arena included pizza from Sbarro.
We will certainly look for a replacement, Mr. Patnode said. Our leasing team will be pursuing that.
Sbarro also operates locations at Salmon Run Mall in Watertown and Champlain Centre in Plattsburgh. Both of those locations remained open Thursday.
Were not affected. Im 100 percent sure were not closing, said Joshua D. Dallas, who manages Sbarros Watertown location.
According to the Associated Press the closure will affect approximately 1,400 full and part-time employees.
Following this weeks closures Sbarro still owns and operates 400 restaurants in North America, with an additional 175 locations owned by franchisees.
Mr. Patnode said Sbarro was a successful tenant in the mall, and its closure is not a reflection on St. Lawrence Centre.
This was a corporate decision to close 155 stores, he said.
Ted Booker and the Associated Press contributed to this report.