For Ron Gurney, the decision to close the Kennebec Market on the corner of Water and Bond streets came easily.

He had a heart attack earlier this summer and spent about 12 days in a Portland hospital.

“It’s not practical to keep it open,” Gurney said Saturday. “We’re going to try to sell the store.”

Just a short distance up Bond Street from the Kennebec Market, another neighborhood store is undergoing changes.

In late August, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts-based Cumberland Farms chain confirmed the company was closing its store at 5 Mount Vernon Ave. The privately owned company declined to release further details.

Cumberland Farms has had nine stores in and around Kennebec County, including the Augusta store it just closed, according to the company’s website. The Augusta store was one of four stores that has not been renovated to the updated version, with white, green and blue signs and modern store fixtures like those in Gardiner and Winthrop, which were remodeled and reopened in March 2014.


Until they came down, the convenience store carried the company’s blue-and-orange signs. Now the only indication that a business is operating there is the sparkling OPEN sign and the propped open door that invites passers-by inside.

Manager Gary Patel said the store’s new name is Country Farm, and the signs are expected to be installed soon.

“We opened last Sunday,” Patel said.

Country Farm is expected to be only a convenience store; the gas pumps, which were removed in 2014, will not be replaced, he said. Some new fixtures are expected to be installed soon, however.

Patel said his family owns two other independent stores in Maine and several more in Massachusetts. Maine represents an opportunity that’s not always available in other parts of the country, where convenience stores have sprung up on all corners of busy intersections. “It’s a good opportunity here,” he said.

Normally, the store will be open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., he said, but it may close earlier occasionally if business is slow.


Lorna Hayword, a neighborhood resident who has been stopping at the former Cumberland Farms for years for sandwiches and snacks, said on Saturday she was surprised the store had changed hands; it was a bit of a neighborhood landmark. She thinks she’ll continue to stop there.

Customers of the Kennebec Market, which stands at the foot of the Sand Hill neighborhood, got their notice of the store’s closure via a handwritten sign taped to the inside of the door.

Gurney said he’s been running the store since 2000, keeping it open every day except Sunday. He and his wife, Ann, bought the three-story building that overlooks Bond Brook in 1992. He left his job as purchasing manager at Carleton Woolen Mill in Winthrop several years before it closed in 1995, and he had been looking for something to do.

“I didn’t want to flip burgers,” he said.

Gurney said he had never run or worked in a market before he went to work at the Kennebec Market. “I’ve been in the through the back door of some of them when I worked for Kirschner’s,” he said, referring to an Augusta food distribution company.

He enjoyed the work and the customers, the ebb and flow of lottery hopefuls and the people who popped in to pick up cigarettes or milk. “You knew everyone and they knew you. It was fun.”


Gurney said the property is likely to be on the market in the next few days. That will occupy part of his time; he said he’s going stir crazy as he continues his recovery.

“Just tell people we’re going to be fine and we’re going to miss them.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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