Owner Dave Sheperd stands Friday in the showroom at the soon-to-be closed The Major’s Furniture and Appliances in Farmingdale. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

FARMINGDALE — Dave Sheperd held on as long as he could.

But this summer Sheperd, the owner of The Major’s Furniture & Appliance, made the hard decision to close the business he bought nearly four years ago.

“I had contemplated closing last December, but I was hoping the economy would rebound somehow,” he said. “But I’ve drained everything I’ve got — savings and capital — and I just can’t continue, otherwise I’d be in the negative.”

Sheperd said he doesn’t know when the store’s final day will be, but he expects it to be sometime in September. That will mark the end of the business that got its start in Gardiner nearly four decades ago, unless someone else takes it on.

He’s hoping to either lease or sell the property at 680 Maine Ave., but he may also continue to sell some appliances in stock out front as a small cash and carry enterprise to get by.

Grills and directional signs are seen Friday at the soon-to-be closed The Major’s Furniture and Appliances in Farmingdale. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

He first started working for the business in 1997. By that time, the business that had started in Gardiner in 1984 had moved to its current location in Farmingdale.


That first stint for Sheperd was for three years, then he moved on to other employers. He returned in 2008, first as an accountant, and then manager before he bought the business in 2019.

Among the changes he made when he took over was joining a buying group in Massachusetts, which now acts as his warehouse, allowing him to order what he needs at a lower cost. He also ended the practice of holding sales that suggested the store might be going out of business.

Months later, the COVID-19 pandemic upended the business as it had to adjust and adjust again as public health restrictions changed. After an initial closure in 2020, Major’s was declared an essential business, but it couldn’t make deliveries and it could provide no service. Eventually, it was able to move to from curbside pickup in Farmingdale to curbside drop-off wherever its customers were located.

The following year was the best ever for the business, and Sheperd credits low interest rates and extra cash people had on hand for a surge in remodeling in 2021, but that all stopped in 2022 when the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates in an attempt to cool inflation.

“My demographic is people who live paycheck to paycheck,” he said.

Camouflage recliners for children are displayed Friday at the soon-to-be closed The Major’s Furniture and Appliances in Farmingdale. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Appliances are a need, he said, but furniture and bedding is a want. When interest rates and the price of essentials like food and fuel start to increase, his customers stop spending on non-essential items.


Since the announcement, which is also posted on the electronic sign outside the business, he said customers have been stopping by to thank him and tell him the business will be missed.

When the business wraps up operations, Sheperd said he’ll return to the workforce. He’s had an offer to be an accountant for someone and handle payroll. The downside is that it’s in Portland, and he’ll be looking for a vehicle that gets better mileage than his current truck.

Sheperd said he’s a member of buying group in Massachusetts, and it’s possible that one of the other members might want to expand to Maine, but the business known as The Major’s will be no more.

“I floated as long as I possibly could,” he said.

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