Jonesport supermarket closing after state forces upgrade to meat cutting room; owner hopes to reopen
JONESPORT, Maine — For the time being, at least, this seaside fishing village is going to revert to being a one-supermarket town after state officials required the store to upgrade its meat cutting room.
The local IGA Supermarket, which for decades was the only supermarket-style grocery store between Machias and Columbia, is shutting its doors. Area residents will have another local option, however, with Manaford’s Supermarket, which opened its doors in 2008.
Teresa Peabody, owner of the IGA, said Tuesday that the store is selling off its inventory and shutting its doors with the hopes of making needed repairs to the building. The final day of business, she said, is expected to be Friday, June 21.
Peabody said officials with the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry have indicated that the store must upgrade its meat cutting room. When it might reopen depends on how the renovation project goes, she added.
“We are liquidating,” Peabody said of the store’s inventory. Liquidation prices for many items have been posted on the store’s Facebook page.
She said keeping the store open for business while the building is being renovated would require more time, energy and space than she and her employees have.
“We’ve been here 12, 14 hours a day for seven days a week” since taking over the business in 2009, she said.
Henrietta Beaufait, an official in the state’s red meat and poultry inspection program, said Tuesday that the store has filed an “out of business” report with the state, meaning it does not plan to renew its licenses. If the IGA does reopen, she said, it will have to get needed licenses from the state before it can do so.
Depending on what services the store would offer, she said, it would have to obtain a general license for food and beverage sales, another for preparing and selling baked goods, another for cutting and packing meat and poultry, and a fourth license for selling meat and poultry.
Beaufait said there have been examples of some stores not renewing their licenses and shutting down but then getting new licenses and reopening at a later date. She said there are a variety of reasons some businesses might do this, such as a transfer of ownership or to deal with a family illness.
“I don’t think it’s common, but I don’t think it’s unusual,” she said.
Clifford Norton is an employee at another local business, Stewart’s Grocery, and is in the process of buying it. Norton said Tuesday that Stewart’s, located not far from Manaford’s on Indian River Road, is more of a convenience store in that it carries a comparatively small selection of grocery items but also serves hot food and sells gasoline. He said he has had customers ask him to expand his line of grocery items to help fill in the gap by the IGA shutting down, which he plans to do, but that Stewart’s will never grow to supermarket size.
“We’ll help to the extent that we can,” Norton said.