PITTSFIELD — Bud’s Shop ‘n Save in Pittsfield, an independent grocery store for more than 60 years, is set to begin operations under new ownership.

Beginning in January, the owners of another independent store, Danforth’s Down Home Supermarket in Hermon, will own and operate Bud’s, located at 101 Somerset Plaza.

Dean Homstead, owner of Bud’s, said he decided to sell the store so he could retire.

Homstead’s father began the business in 1953 with a store in Newport. Six years later, he opened stores in Pittsfield and Dexter. Dean Homstead took ownership of the stores in 1985.

Homstead sold the Newport and Dexter locations to Hannaford in 2016. When it came time to sell the Pittsfield store, however, he wanted to find a buyer who would preserve it as an independent grocer rather than having it become part of a large chain. Thus, he approached the Danforth family.

“I thought it was the perfect fit for what they’re looking for and what I was looking for: To have a family-operated business that will continue on, not just for what I want, but for my store associates and for the town of Pittsfield,” Homstead said.

Brett Danforth, the manager of Danforth’s Down Home Supermarket, said his family had been looking for several years to open a second location. Danforth said when Homstead approached him recently, everything fell into place.

“It truthfully was the perfect fit,” Danforth said. “Thirty minutes down the road and we’re familiar with the community. That gives us a leg up to make sure we can continue to run the business the way the community is familiar with, which is locally owned, family-run and with a customer-first and employee-centric business model.”

Danforth’s Down Home Supermarket opened in 2007 and is owned by Richard Danforth, Brett Danforth’s father. Both Bud’s and Danforth’s are Hannaford-supplied stores, one of several similarities that will help with the transition, Brett Danforth said.

The new ownership takes effect Jan. 2, although Brett Danforth said not much will change at first for shoppers. The employees at Bud’s will remain and their original start dates will be honored, Danforth said.

“It’s very important that we respect the history that’s there (at Bud’s) and we appreciate that,” Danforth said. “And I think that’s going to make the Pittsfield community and the employees understand much more quickly how we do business and how we’re going to continue to do business for many, many years.”

It is difficult to determine how many independent grocers remain in Maine because some local owners have multiple stores, according to Christine Cummings, executive director of the Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association in Augusta.

A 2017 economic report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that in 2015, independent grocery stores made up 11% of grocery sales across the country.

The independent markets play an important role because they make food accessible to those in rural and low-income areas, according to the report.

While the number of independent grocers nationwide increased between 2005 and 2015, the report says they were hit hardest by the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 and saw diminished numbers.

Cummings said Maine has not necessarily seen independent stores going out of business. Instead, some stores have been acquired by other local owners, by larger chains or transitioned to employee ownership as the original owners look to retire, she said.

As Homstead prepares for his own retirement, he said he plans to remain a familiar face.

“I’m going to stay here,” he said, “and I’m going to shop here.”


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