MADISON — The Cumberland Farms store at the busy downtown corner where Main Street meets Old Point Avenue and Weston Avenue in Madison is back open, but under a new name and with a new set of faces.

Country Farm 2 opened on Thanksgiving Day with all the amenities of a family-owned convenience store — fresh Green Mountain coffee, snacks, soft drinks and beer, tobacco products, and lottery tickets.

Ramesh Patel, of Wilbraham, Massachusetts, said he closed on the sale with Cumberland Farms on Nov. 11, the day the old store closed. He said he did some cleanup and renovations and opened two weeks later.

Patel, 38, and his family own and operate seven “mom and pop” stores in Maine and Massachusetts.

They own the Country Store in the former Cumberland Farms store on Mt. Vernon Avenue in Augusta and Racing Mart in the former Cumby’s on Main Street in Farmington, which he purchased in July.

“I am already in the convenience store business, and I was fortunate, through Cumberland Farms, that they were selling this with the property,” Patel said. “I’d like to stay in the convenience store business.”

The purchase and sale agreement was published in the Mainebiz newsletter, saying the store at 136 Main St., Madison, is a 4,000-square-foot retail building on 0.38 of an acre. It was sold to Shreehari Realty LLC by Cumberland Farms Inc. for $175,000. The store itself is about 2,500 square feet, and the total retail space also includes China Jade, a Chinese restaurant.

Patel, who is married with two children, came to the United States in 1998 from his native Gujarat State in western India. He said the manager at the Augusta store, Gary Patel, has the same last name as he does, but they are not related. He said their name in that part of India is like Smith and Jones in the United States.

Patel said the new manager of the store is Sam Soni, who has relocated with his wife and two children to Madison. He said he likes Madison.

“It’s a decent town without having any crime rate or anything like that. It’s a village type of a place,” Ramesh Patel said. “Usually Indian people try to be in the convenience store business or Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts, or the motel or hotel business. If they are well educated, they will be in the pharmacy or they’ll be a doctor.”

Soni, the manager, said he already likes Madison and his children already are in school.

“It is good,” he said with a smile. “People are very kind here. Very good.”

Cumberland Farms still owns about 30 stores in Maine, according to the company website. Company officials and business representatives declined to be interviewed for this story.

Madison Town Manager Tim Curtis said he does not think the vacancy left by Cumberland Farms is a reflection of the closing of Madison Paper Industries mill in May, putting about 215 people out of work. He said Cumberland Farms, a family-owned business, has been trying to find a buyer for their Madison store for several years.

“Cumberland Farms is not a franchise, like McDonald’s. One guy owns all the company stores,” Curtis said. “He chose not to do the upgrades to that Cumberland Farms like they did in Skowhegan and Norridgewock. We were a little disappointed in that.”

Curtis said the fuel pumps at the store were removed a couple of years ago. He said fuel pumps remain in place at the Big Apple and at the Irving station in Madison.

Curtis added that Irving did some upgrades to its Madison store after the gas pumps were taken out at Cumberland Farms during a time when other stores in the chain were being renovated from the blue and orange color scheme to the new white, green and blue signs and upgraded interiors.

Patel said the Madison store will be open from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. He said he will get to know the people and the area before he decides to offer sandwiches or pizza. But in the meantime he will slowly “fill the store up” with products Cumberland Farms used to carry.

“It’s like a small mom and pop store,” he said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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