Prominent Orono inn closes after 57 years in business

An inn that has been in business for nearly 60 years in Orono has closed.

The University Inn on College Avenue closed, as of Monday, “for good,” owner Tracey Whitten said in a video posted on the Inn’s Facebook page.

Whitten has owned the inn for the last 21 years and also owns the Black Bear Inn and Conference Center off Stillwater Avenue in Orono. The inn opened in 1963 as the University Motor Inn, according to the inn’s website.

“We’re closing our doors for good,” Whitten said in the video. “It has been a really awesome 21 years. It’s just been a really great ride for us here.”

The full details as to why the inn is closing are currently under wraps, bound by a confidentiality agreement, Whitten said Wednesday. But more details should be available next week.

She said employees were notified of the closing on Friday and what employees she could retain will now work at the Black Bear Inn while the rest were given two weeks of full pay.

In the video, Whitten said the staff took the news “as best they could,” and some guests were confused.

As of Wednesday morning, the sign outside the inn said it was closed and the parking lot was empty.

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