The name won’t be quite the same, but the customer service certainly will be when David Hawes and his son, Greg, open a new grocery store in East Holden this spring.
Construction started last year on a new store to replace the 5,500-square-foot G & M Variety, an East Holden fixture purchased by David Hawes in April 1984. “I thought it was a good location,” he said. “There was an actual store here several years before that.”
Today the Haweses employ 12 to 14 people to staff the existing store, which offers a D’Amato’s Pizza and a Dunkin Donuts, but carries no meat or produce and only limited grocery items. “There is no grocery store in Holden. That is where the void is,” David said.
In fact, no grocery store exists along Route 1A from Outer Wilson Street in Brewer to Ellsworth Falls. Many people stop at G & M Variety; “we get a lot of commuter traffic now,” David said, noting that when campowners flock to the local lakes in summertime, “the population in the towns around here just about triples.”
The Haweses initially planned to build a new store a few years ago, but postponed the project until 2011. They worked with town officials on siting the proposed store and on its design; “the town has been excellent with work with, totally supportive,” David said. “The planning board and the code enforcement officer have been extremely accommodating.”
The Haweses hired Ellsworth-based Enman Construction to build the new store, located behind the existing store and angled between Routes 1A and 46. Named the G & M Family Market, the 12,000-square-foot store will, like its predecessor, have a 1024 Main Road, Holden address.
“We will have a full-service grocery store” affiliated with Associated Grocers of New England, David said. “We’re really going to emphasize our meats and produce; we will carry a full line of groceries.” There will be 10 grocery aisles, a customer-service desk just to the left of the main entrance, and public restrooms.
“We plan on having a good, quality meat selection,” Greg said.
The store “will have a state-of-the-art Dunkin Donuts and D’Amato’s, with a Dunkin Donuts drive-through window” facing Route 46, David said. The current store lacks a drive-through window.
The four Dysart’s fuel pumps and island will remain in their current location, Greg indicated.
Construction started in September 2011, with workers building a frost wall and pouring the building’s slab. The G & M Family Market will emphasize “energy efficiency and environmental friendliness,” David said. Construction started in September 2011 with workers building a frost wall and pouring the concrete slab. Before doing so, workers placed insulation board across the slab to reduce heat loss through the building’s floor.
Featuring high R-value insulation in its walls and ceiling, the store will be cooled and heated by “geothermal-type heaters,” David said. A closed-loop system will circulate water to collect the heat produced by “highly advanced digital, water-cooled compressors” and then, via the geothermal heaters, release this warmth inside the store, he explained.
“It will require less BTUs to heat the new building than this one, which is half the size,” David said. Propane heaters will provide additional heat “on the coldest days of the year, maybe eight to 10 or 11 days a year.”
The geothermal system will also cool all the store’s refrigeration units, including the open-face and walk-in coolers.
In warm weather, the geothermal system will work in reverse by collecting compressor heat, releasing it in a roof-mounted fiberglass water tower that measures 7 feet high and 7 feet in diameter, and then air conditioning the store.
To reduce electricity consumption, “the store will have a lot of LED lighting in the cooler doors” and in the exterior lights, Greg said. The existing store has no energy-efficient LED lighting, he indicated.
“We are going to have a heated front sidewalk so the chemical use will be minimal,” David said. “That will be good for the environment.”
With the new store roofed and fully enclosed, construction has continued through the winter. “No snow has made the difference in getting it to where we are today,” Greg said. “It’s made it much easier for the contractors to work so far this winter.”
“We’re in hopes for an April opening,” David indicated. Once construction has been completed, he tentatively plans to shutter the existing store “for seven-to-10 days to clean everything out of this, tear it down, and open the new store.”
Acknowledging that “our customers really can’t fathom what it’s going to look like when the [existing] store is gone,” he said that “it’s really going to open up the front. The town’s told us that it’s really going to change how the [East Holden] village looks.”
The G & M Family Market will be open 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Saturday, and 6 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday. “We will be creating eight-to-10 new jobs,” David said.
“We think everybody will like what we’re doing [pertaining to the new store],” he said. “We think the need is here. There’s an awful lot of buzz about it.”