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Franchisee suddenly shuts down Orange Leaf, Which Wich

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The local Orange Leaf and Which Wich franchisee signaled closure plans for three Springfield eateries.

Owner Curt Bartell said the 1368 E. Republic Road location of Orange Leaf in the Fremont Corners shopping center is slated to close tomorrow. He said the 1011 S. Glenstone Ave. Orange Leaf shuttered during the first week of December and his 1920 E. Independence St. Which Wich franchise closed Nov. 29 after opening earlier this year.

“A couple situations have come up in our lives, and I’ve got some health issues that prevent me from being able to operate the stores effectively,” Bartell said, declining to disclose his health issues.

Bartell said health care costs tallied up with debt in unrelated businesses he owns, forcing the closures of the local franchises, as well as an Orange Leaf in St. Charles County. He said the debt has been caused by other businesses than Orange Leaf, but he declined to name his other ventures. He noted not all of his businesses are in the restaurant industry.

“It created a situation where the debt just got too much to continue operating any of my stores,” Bartell said. “It’s unfortunate because every one of my Orange Leafs was profitable.”

Bartell said for the store at Glenstone Avenue and Grand Street, the plan originally was to close temporarily through the winter months and reopen in March. He said a $12,000 HVAC repair is needed at the Glenstone store, which forced the temporarily closure, and after looking at his debt load and other closure plans, he decided to keep it shuttered.

The first Orange Leaf opened in 2010 on Republic Road, followed by the Glenstone location in April 2017. The Which Wich sandwich shop opened in February in the James River Towne Center, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

Bartell said he’s seeking a buyer for all three stores.

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