February 19, 2014GROVETON — The Groveton Village Store on State Street is both changing its name to the North Country Shop & Save and changing its supplier to Hannaford, allowing it to be an independent Hannaford market, explained store manager Rebekah Dumont of Jefferson in a Wednesday afternoon interview.
A ribbon cutting at the 10,000-square-foot store is planned for Thursday, April 10. The store will only be closed for business on a single day, April 9, so new computers and other "back-end" electronic equipment can be installed.
Otherwise the business will be open as usual until then, with on-shelf supplies gradually dwindling down before the final changeover day, Dumont said.
The store's interior will be freshly painted but the shelving and other features will remain as they now.
What will change for the better is the freshness of the fruits, vegetables and meats and other products because three truck deliveries will be made each week and there will be lower prices and greater variety, Dumont said.
"We've been working on this project for two years," she said. The "we" includes the two partners who own the business: her brother Josh Dumont and their longtime friend Chad McLean. Both men own other grocery stores; this is the only one they own together. They've operated the Groveton Village Store with Rebekah Dumont as manager for eight years, opening in 2005 to the delight of townspeople after Clarkeies slid into bankruptcy.
"We love being in Groveton; I love our clientele; and our customer support is very good. Everyone is very pleased we're taking this next step," Dumont said. "There are 39 independent Hannaford stores, likely the closest ones are in North Conway and Bethel, Me."
"This seems to be a really exciting turn-around time for Groveton," she said, noting that she had attended the previous evening's informational meeting about Clear Energy's $100 million LNG proposal. "I'm just so happy for the town; it's really on the rise!"
Dumont, who is 32 years old and the mother of two children in the third and fifth grades at the Lancaster School, graduated in 1999 from Monmouth Academy in Monmouth, Me., near Augusta.
She went immediately to work for her brother Josh, who bought and operated his first store — Northrups — in Lisbon, where he also owns the Irving Station. Dumont said she later also worked at the Bethlehem Village Store, which her brother has since sold.
"He trained me well," she said simply, looking with some pride at the clean, attractive and well-stocked store.
Dumont prides herself on being a good manager for the 13 employees who work at the store, and she has nothing but praise for their work ethic and their focus on customer service.
There will be no changes in the store's staff.
The switch to Hannaford as the store's sole supplier is designed not only to draw their current clientele but also to attract new customers from more distant communities, Dumont said. The parking lot was improved and paved during the summer of 2013 in anticipation of this eventuality.
"I think people will like what we sell, the low prices and the friendly small-town atmosphere that our staff maintains," Dumont said. "I think when they come here after April 10 they'll find a place they'll want to shop in regularly."