ST. CHARLES – Dolce Bakery and Cafe, 131 S. First St., closed for business sometime earlier this week, city officials and a neighboring business said.
Matt O’Rourke, St. Charles economic development division manager, said his department found out about the closure Monday, but had no other details.
“It kind of took us by surprise a little bit,” he said.
Sales associate Alex Suptela of JP Jewelers, located at 151 S. First St. – next door to the bakery – said he spoke to owner Stephanie Heitzman on Sunday.
When he was inside her store that day, he saw that half of her display cases were completely empty, he said.
Heitzman said they were selling the last of their inventory and that the store was closing for good, Suptela said.
“We’re sorry to see them go,” he said.
Heitzman on Thursday did not respond to multiple phone calls seeking comment. She has owned and operated the bakery since June 2013, after previous owner Sean Glore offered to sell the bakery to her and have her pay in installments.
Heitzman first joined the bakery as a clerk in spring 2011, about two years after the business first opened. Then she became manager in 2012, when Glore purchased the bakery.
On Thursday the bakery had the word “closed” printed on two white sheets of paper, taped on the inside of each entrance.
All of the customer chairs were folded over tables, and the display cases were all empty. The bakery’s website, dolcebakerycafe.com, only says, “Our Site is Currently Unavailable” and “Thank you for your patronage!”
The bakery was the first ground-level retail shop to open in the building known as The Plaza, which is part of the First Street redevelopment project and includes the city-owned parking garage.
City officials and businesses alike have been waiting for the next phase of the project, which involves two developers for property bordered by the Fox River and Illinois, First and Main streets. Each developer has an April 8 deadline to show progress on their respective projects.
Part of the land across the street from The Plaza currently sits vacant, and another part is used for parking.
“Nothing’s booming; nothing growing here,” Suptela said.