Fa­mil­iar face will re­open gro­cery in Ban­gor

One-time part­ner in Main Street Mar­ket hopes to be op­er­at­ing some­time in Oc­to­ber

The Morning Call - - FRONT PAGE - By Christina Tatu

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]

APRIL GAMIZ/THE MORN­ING CALL

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.

APRIL GAMIZ/THE MORN­ING CALL

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.

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