Familiar face will reopen grocery in Bangor
One-time partner in Main Street Market hopes to be operating sometime in October
The Main Street Market in Bangor will reopen next month, bringing relief to the community that local officials say was devastated by the food store’s abrupt closure at the end of August.
The market will reopen under the management of Nichole and Duane Smith, a veteran of the grocery industry and the founding partner of the Main Street Market nearly 25 years ago.
“This is an opportunity that I’ve pretty much been praying for,” Smith said Monday.
He was lucky enough to land the opportunity after his wife, Nichole, learned of the store’s closure and contacted property owners Barbara Duckloe and Richard Townsend.
Smith, of Plainfield Township, opened Main Street Market in 1995 with Daniel Paul, who died in 2013. Paul’s wife, Susan Paul, ran the store until August when she and the property owners were unable to come to an agreement on a new lease.
In 2001, Smith left Main Street Market to open Portland Market in Portland Borough. He owned
that store until 2006, when he decided to sell after a series of floods.
Smith did go back to work as a manager at the Portland Market from 2013-2016, but most recently he has been driving a truck for a U.S. Postal Service contractor.
“I don’t know what it is, but I love doing the grocery business. Driving a truck, you are sitting in a seat all day. This is nonstop. You get to meet people every day. You get to serve customers,” Smith said.
He declined to comment on the terms of his lease agreement, but said the property owners will be fixing the roof, parking lot and ceiling inside the building.
“We look forward to bringing back the same level of service Main Street Market has always been known for,” Smith said.
The store closed Aug. 23, putting 33 employees out of work. So far, about 20 of them have agreed to come back to Main Street Market, he added.
The closure shocked local officials and residents who rely on the market. Just last week, LANTA announced it was adding a new bus service in the area to help residents get to other supermarkets.
Although an October opening is planned, an exact date has yet to be announced.
Bangor Mayor Brooke Kerzner had been working with Jamie Townsend, a family member of the owners, to reopen the market. She was pleased to hear the news Monday.
“Jamie has told me I would not be disappointed and that I would be happy with the person going in, but he never told me who it was. It was always my hope it would have been Duane,” she said.
Portland Mayor Lance Prator also had positive things to say about the veteran businessman.
Portland was flooded in 2004, 2005 and 2006, with floodwaters reaching up to 11 feet, Prator said.
“When Duane was there, he had a really good deli counter, salads and fresh everything. After the floods, he left and new owners came in and tried to bring it back from scratch,” Prator said. “I think you have to know the area though. Duane knows the area very well. He knows the trends and what we like here.”
Main Street Market provided a vital service for hundreds of downtown residents, including those with low income, the elderly and those without access to a vehicle.
There are three low-income housing developments, including a senior housing complex, within four blocks of the supermarket. Even when the market was in operation, the community was still considered a “food desert.” Food deserts are usually impoverished areas where fresh fruit, vegetables, meats and other healthy whole foods are hard to come by, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which includes Bangor on its list of communities with that designation.
The list includes communities with a poverty rate of 20% or greater and low access, which is defined as at least 33% of the urban population living more than one mile from a supermarket, or 10 miles from a grocery store in rural areas, according to the USDA.
Morning Call reporter Christina Tatu can be reached at 610-820-6583 or [email protected]
Rosalie Finelli shops last month at the now-shuttered Main Street Market in Bangor. The store is slated to reopen under new ownership in October. “This is an opportunity that I’ve pretty much been praying for,” new owner Duane Smith said Monday.
Bangor Mayor Brooke Kerzner said she was glad to hear that former co-owner Duane Smith was the person taking over the Main Street Market in Bangor.