[Updated] Health Dept. Shuts Down Baskin Robbins Until Further Notice

Baskin' Robbins has been reopened.

Updated 10/2/12:30p.m: Baskin' Robbins has been re-opened as of Tuesday morning. Check back for the full story tomorrow. 

Original story:

The Ridgefield Baskin Robbins has been closed until further notice after the Ridgefield Health Dept. Director, Edward Briggs, walked in on the shop’s owner sleeping on the floor around 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The latest violation was the tipping point for Briggs, who said that the owner had been reprimanded for similar health violations during the last five months.

Briggs said he had contacted the Baskin Robbins franchise owner, Dunkin’ Brands, and that the ice cream shop will remain closed until the Briggs can “be assured that these violations don’t occur” again. In this case, ‘assurance’ means that Dunkin’ Brands will “closely monitor” the owner, he said.

“Depending on what they [the Dunkin Brands’ legal dept.] say, she will be allowed to operate with some severe constraints, or her license may be revoked,” said Briggs.

Briggs said he expects to hear a response from the legal department by Monday, and the decision to shutter Baskin’ Robbins or not will be made mid next week.

The first complaint on the shop’s owner, whom the Ridgefield Press identified as Linda Wang, came roughly five months ago when a woman walking with her child to Starbucks allegedly saw Wang changing clothes through front glass windows.

The woman said Wang “was changing with basically no clothes, basically in front of the window,” said Briggs. “We went down and investigated it... She [Wang] admitted to staying overnight but agreed that she wasn’t going to do it anymore, so we basically left her alone. But the people who made the complaint were quite upset with me,” said Briggs. However, “it was the limit of what we [could] do,” he said.

Approximately a couple of months ago, Briggs was on his way to Starbucks in the early morning when he said he spotted Wang washing her hair in the three-bay sink. She was again reprimanded. Then last week, Baskin Robbins failed a health inspection because there were various personal items such as a hairdryer and a change of clothes inside the shop.

On Monday, Briggs was once again on his way for a coffee at Starbucks when he noticed the Baskin’ Robbins door ajar and that the building appeared empty, so he waited for a while for any activity. Seeing none, he called the police in case a break-in or other incident requiring emergency personnel had occurred.

Briggs said he and responding officers found Wang “sound asleep” on the floor.

“She’s not supposed to have blankets, pillows and clothes there. That should be kept in the car. That’s a good indication to the extent that she’s been there,” he said.

“She has demonstrated that she can’t be trusted, so she needs monitoring,” said Briggs. 



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S. McLaughlin October 02, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Last Monday night she received a large delivery of ice cream close to midnight. The delivery drivers did not lock the door as my mother was there sorting and putting away all of the stock by herself. As a 65 year old woman (not in good health), this took her a while. When she finished, she started to read her Bible but her back was in pain and she sat down on a board covered with a towel with a small cushion to rest her back and pray. Why would she sleep in the store with the front door open? Does my mother spend the majority of her time at the store and pull some nighters? This is not something any of us (especially her) would like to do but that is how she is cleaning the store, staying out of the red, supporting other local businesses and pay town taxes. Although, I secretly suspect some of that time she spends on the internet & facebooking.
S. McLaughlin October 02, 2012 at 07:03 PM
David, I'm really sorry this happened. One of things I used to be extremely mad at my mom about growing up was that she never let me chew gum. Chewing gum is not allowed at work. Could the gum be from an employee? Can it be from the factory? I'm sorry we were not able to get you a firm resolution as too much time has passed. Either way, this is inexcusable but we would have like you to bring the item back and we would love to give your son another ice cream of his choice.
TAB October 02, 2012 at 08:35 PM
According to Ridgfefield's "other" news site, the store passed health department inspection and is now reopened for business.
S. McLaughlin October 02, 2012 at 08:41 PM
That is correct, thanks! The store received a 98 out of 100.
S. McLaughlin October 02, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Although my mother is not in poverty, the Ridgefield store is how she supports herself and my father, and when they sell, is their retirement. Mom bought this store with borrowed capital and majority of their retirement funds during height of the market. My mother and father had another store which they were in the processes of selling when markets crashed Oct. 2008. Among many others, due instant drop in economy, inability to pay the high downtown city rent, and my father's health issues, they lost the other store at the end of 2009. There was nothing in the other store's account by the time all the closing costs cleared. Is she "poor" in terms of assets, not really. However, that does not help her pay for food and their many medical bills not covered by medicare.
TAB October 02, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Dear S. McLaughlin: I hope everything works out for your mother and her business.
paul d. October 02, 2012 at 09:18 PM
From Ms. Joyce- luca- whatever- " I dont think either of us are. people like libby who feel emboldened to finger wag, may find it useful, to see that some things people dont jump on board the finger wagging train." If you aren't the conductor of the finger wagging train, who is? LMAO. The builders of Babel couldn't build anything as large as your hypocrisy.
Christine E. October 02, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Yep - and it will suffer because of all of the negative press. Sad.
S. McLaughlin October 02, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Very sincere and heartfelt thanks TAB!
S. McLaughlin October 02, 2012 at 09:43 PM
The director of health department was out of the office until Monday. After addressing his concerns, he allowed the store to be opened that morning; my mother wanted to attend my husband's surprise birthday party last night in Norwalk so she remained closed until today. This week's delay was terribly damaging in terms of lost revenues and reputation. It could have just been a slow Tuesday, but sadly my mom had very little business all day.
S. McLaughlin October 02, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Crystal, I'm sorry you have such a terrible experience. I really, really apologize for my father...Obviously he should have washed his hands. People should never directly touch any of your food, if you see them do it...please speak up and don't accept it. All over the counter products sold at Baskin Robbins should be able to be prepared without directly touching anything edible you eat (e.g. all prepared via scoopers, ladles, pumps, etc.). This is the reason we are not required to wear gloves when serving you food and taking your money at the same time. That being said, it is pretty hard to get food poisoning from premade scooped ice cream such as Baskin Robbins. The highest chance of ice cream getting contaminated is during manufacturing process and this is strictly monitored; you would hear of any outbreaks across all news stations. Most food-borne bacteria cannot survive or grow in the cold, hence requirements for most restaurant to refrigerate food after 2 hours. Obviously does not apply to frozen dessert retail stores, which is considered by the health department a much lower risk store. Although I am in Investment Banking, my degree from Cornell is for Hotel Administration and I had 3 years of food prep and sanitation classes.
Laura Stabell October 02, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Im coming by with my family to have ice cream. I think the town should have more respect for those who are struggling. Stop the vulture attitudes and the bullying. Adults act worse than kids. Sometimes people just need a hand-up.
S. McLaughlin October 02, 2012 at 10:06 PM
To be fair, it is possible to get food poisoning from frozen yogurt and items dispensed from soft serve machines...auto immune patients, elderly, young children and pregnant women are sometimes asked not to eat it. I can tell you my mom spend hours every day cleaning yogurt machines, her store is one of the few places I feel safe eating frozen yogurt. Baskin Robbins has very high standards and testing requirements in all their inspections for all the products served in stores. My mom has dry cracked hands from handling frozen items and being in and out of the freezer. It doesn't get a chance to heal properly because of sanitizing solution and constant hand washing...far from filthy. One of the reasons my father sold his store was because he his advanced case of lung and heart diseases, diabetes, and yes, horrible case of psoriasis. All of which maybe gross but not contagious. This is why we try not to have him work and is topic of much of spousal and filial tirades. They are both in terrible health, but I assure you, none of it is communicable or infectious.
Wayne Addessi October 02, 2012 at 10:06 PM
...Just because Mr. Briggs decides to target a business in part by spying he can bring all this to the Press? If you have health violations than follow the law and give those a chance to correct it if allowed. if you need to close a business down than do that if the rules and law apply. Since this debacle of all this media attention has brought so much attention to this business then there should be a complete public review of the health department rules, who they have targeted and how they have a "random rules" that may apply to some and not to others and the laws. Changes need to be made so this public disgrace of a business never happens again. There is a moral and legal balance between protecting the public and publicly defaming a business and Mr. briggs has failed that rule again. Will Mr. Brigss go public if and when he finds her in compliance or will he crawl back into his office and just fade away until he decides who the next victim will be? Who can help this business get back on her feet?
Wayne Addessi October 02, 2012 at 10:16 PM
How do you deliver a notice to a business in violation? I'd like to know and specifically of this one here. Someone detail for me the rules/law on this please with regard to this topic of food related business. Thank you in advance. I recall I had a visit by the Fire inspector who I have the most respect for of any town official to this day. This goes back to when Abe Morelli was First Selectman. During his inspection, he found that some boxes were blocking a rear exit rarely used on our 2nd floor. Well, he came running down back into my store as if he was going to arrest me!! Running fown from the stairwell he "tore me apart" and in front of my customers which was most disturbing. Long story short- i threw him out quietly and called our First Selectman enraged with anger. My point is that a mentality runs rampant in certain departments here that these people have their own rights to treat businesses they way they see fit and that is part of the issue here. I would never ever tolerate such an intrusion and so too should anyone else. Well, even though that was such a minor issues, my point is that this speaks to the core of what happens here and facts that some town officials here such as Mr. Briggs and Mr. Reynolds choose who they will go target and who they let go by easily.
Wayne Addessi October 02, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Amen Laura! The economy the construction going on there, the competition now, yogurt shops and more building going on has given folks more options which is good for some but has hurt some too. I hope we can all try to help this family.
sebastian dangerfield October 02, 2012 at 11:30 PM
I agree--there are good cops and bad cops. Unfortunately the bad cops have a way of messing too easily with people's life, just because they have been given a measure of power. The Dept of Health, is a necessary. No doubt about it. As is the police dept. Yet, this particular story , in my opinion, stinks.
Laura Stabell October 02, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Amen Wayne, I usually look at the Ct. general statutes on line.The Ct health department has a web site too.It helps to call if your not finding what your looking for. This town used to be a place where the government treated the people with respect. There are still those in town hall who epitomize this respect -should I name names? You know who you are!!! There is something different between a "town" and a "city" that is not numbers of citizens counted. I was hoping that, even though we passed the "city" threshold, we could retain the "town" attitude. Towns care about their "citizens". Cities do not. Lately,I feel like we are loosing the town.
sebastian dangerfield October 03, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Hey Paul d Look at your comment section under your profile. 95% + are addressed to me. Here is my email address : lucalucaluca123@gmail.com If you need a more direct way to contact me--there it is. If you want to debate me on ideology or facts or opinions, feel free. But your incessant failed attempts are like an insect --and you are welcome to have a less filtered dialog should you so desire.
paul d. October 03, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Because you have all the facts? Just like your other opinions - formed quickly and without depth. Shocking, really.
paul d. October 03, 2012 at 01:12 AM
They have email addresses that you can check from under a rock?
S. McLaughlin October 03, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Bless you! "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." It was an awful mix of language and cultural misunderstandings exacerbated by the economy and pressure to save their retirement savings.
Dean Mulligan October 03, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Heres another food establishment to rally around, folks.... Customers at the Red Flower Chinese Restaurant in Williamsburg, Ky., alerted authorities after they spotted something they probably wish they hadn't: restaurant employees wheeling roadkill back to the kitchen. Local CBS affiliate WYMT interviewed the witnesses. The roadkill was apparently a deer stuffed into a trash can. "There was actually a blood trail they were mopping up behind the garbage can," customer Katie Hopkins said. "There was like a tail, and like a foot and a leg sticking out of the garbage can, and they wheeled it straight back into the kitchen." Local health inspector Paul Lawson was called in to investigate. Lawson said the restaurant owners told him they didn't know they were doing anything wrong. "They said they didn't know they weren't allowed to do that. So that makes me concerned that maybe they could have before. They didn't admit to doing it before." The owner said he didn't plan to serve the deer to customers—instead he planned to use it to feed his family. The restaurant has been temporarily shut down but will be eligible to reopen as soon as it passes another health inspection and proves it has been washed and sanitized.
sebastian dangerfield October 03, 2012 at 02:32 AM
paul My email is lucalucaluca123@gmail.com If you want to address me, then please do. I dont think your commentary --trying to take me on incessantly is anything that patch readers wish to read. But for the record you may want to read your post. Yes,,,,i have an opinion based on facts as I know them. How do you form your opinions? I trust my judgment. And this man Wayne and this woman's daughter explained the real facts with their real names. They come pretty close to my iniitial conclusions. The odd thing, is that my 2 stalker buddies you and the dude from newtown-(posing here as molly , and ming amongst others) want to claim to be liberals fighting for the poor, but when the situation is me vs fighting for the poor--you idiots, are so obsessed with me, that you need to argue with me. Its lunacy.... as you suggest i am a glen beck bigot--you never make sense. your obsession with getting me should end. but i invite you to talk directly to me should you ever become that courageous
S. McLaughlin October 03, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Think we're getting away from the point here. My mother's intentions are not to make the store her abode and live there...she is just an extremely hardworking small business owner who is trying to do her best in these hard economic times to generate profit through economizing and putting in extra hours to compensate. She has fallen asleep at work in the past, trying to fill in a few hours after staying up late to finish her work rather than risk driving home exhausted. My mother is very sorry she has done this but prior to me explaining, my mother thought that since she lives, cooks, votes, pays mortgage, and 99.9% of her possessions are located in her home in Greenwich that she was not breaking the law. Although suffering from hard times, she has a primary residence, she is not homeless. She does not have a bed or mattress at the ice cream store. She got another 98 on her health inspection today, her tiny store may be cluttered but is not unclean.
sebastian dangerfield October 03, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Yes they do. So email me.
paul d. October 03, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Great... you can contact me at my personal email address: joycewithyou2@gmail.com
S. McLaughlin October 03, 2012 at 01:49 PM
My mother apologizes to everyone for this misunderstanding. Please come in to see the condition of the store yourself. She would like to thank you by offering a 10% discount off everything today & tomorrow!!!!
sebastian dangerfield October 03, 2012 at 03:57 PM
paul The point of giving you the email is that , since 95% of all your posts are addressed to me, owing to your obsession, you need not involve patch readers in your pursuit of me, ---instead of addressing me on this blog, you can say your stuff directly to me...and spare everyone. If you want to talk about the subject matter---then you can post as I try to. But this constant attack on me, I think has run its course for patch readers, and im giving you the opportunity to spew your stuff to me, directly. Make sense? I emailed you at the email you gave me hours ago. At this point you have not responded. I hope you will view this as a constructive alternative. Same goes for my other stalker...how about attacking me directly?
Anna Larsen December 04, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Dear S. McLaughlin: I am so sorry, your mom has had such a hard time. Ive been to your store WITH my kids, many, many times. It's always been a pleasant (and clean) experience. Please don't worry about this nonsense...apparently people have nothing better to do in town than to bash your mom. Best of luck to you and to them.


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