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BANGOR — What a difference the last 12 months have made at Six Mile Falls Market in Bangor.
On March 29, 2013, Jeff and Melissa Ingalls purchased the convenience store located at 2354 Broadway, next to the intersection of Broadway and North Bangor Road. Jeff had retired from teaching physical education and coaching school sports teams for 30 years; Melissa is also a teacher.
Jeff had a dream; “I’ve always wanted to be a store owner,” he said, explaining that his desire (among other factors) led to the Ingalls’ decision to buy Six Mile Falls Market from Ken and Val Reardon.
And the Ingalls had another dream, evident in the changes that the market has undergone in the past year; “we had some ideas we wanted to implement,” Jeff said — and those ideas increased customer traffic and product sales.
The store became Ingalls’ Six Mile Falls Market, and the Ingalls quickly introduced a bakery and a freezer section and installed a new meat counter constructed by Melissa’s father, Gil Guay. A skilled carpenter, he also made other physical renovations inside the market.
And Melissa’s mother, Sharon Guay, works in the bakery a few days each week.
The market, which had sold unbranded gasoline, switched to Valero gasoline and diesel supplied by H.A. Mapes Motor Fuels of Springvale. “They put in the canopy (another change) for us,” Melissa said. “It’s lit at night. Our customers can now pump gas out of the weather; they tell us how much they appreciate that. Our gas [sales] has quadrupled.”
“The Bangor City Council was instrumental in us getting that canopy,” Jeff noted.
The market also sells kerosene and propane tanks, but does not refill empty propane tanks. A customer can return an empty tank and buy a full one.
Inside the market, the shelves display many grocery items. AG of New England supplies most groceries; “this made us a superette,” Jeff said. Hampden-based Dennis Paper & Food Service supplies other products, and H.P. Hood supplies dairy products.
Baking takes place daily in the market’s small kitchen. Baked goods range from coconut brownies, fudge, and chocolate and peanut butter no-bake cookies to pies (coconut cream and chocolate cream) and whoopie pies.
“Anything chocolate or peanut butter flies out of here,” Melissa stated the obvious; prominently displayed at the front counter are chocolate and peanut butter-chocolate chip whoopie pies. Only an aisle separates them from other tempting baked treats and a cooler containing pie slices.
The Ingalls made major changes in the meat department. According to Melissa, “people come out for the meat. It’s cut fresh” daily. Only the gleaming meat counter separates customers from meat cutters Bob Hutchings, Ben Ellingwood, and Kaycee Wilson; a customer can request a particular cut and amount of meat and watch a meat cutter prepare it.
“Our meat is all going to be fresh. It’s all going to be guaranteed,” Jeff said. “We will grind 5 to 15 pounds of hamburger while the customer waits.” New York sirloin and rib-eye steak “are popular steaks here,” he said, and “we sell a lot of tenderloin.”
The market offers four meat packages, each available in 3-, 5-, and 10-pound increments. Each package contains particular meat selections; Package No. 4, for example, includes 93-percent fresh ground round, New York sirloin, boneless chicken breast, boneless pork chops and pork roast, slab bacon, and homemade pork sausage. Rice’s red hot dogs are offered in Package No. 3, but as with all four packages, a customer can add an item from another package.
With Easter falling on April 20 this year, Jeff anticipates a strong demand for “Mello Gold ham,” available as a whole portion or as a center or shank cut. “It’s a delicious ham; it’s to die for,” he said.
Last Christmas, the market sold 100 prime ribs, bone-in or bone-out and seasoned, in weights averaging 12-14 pounds. Popular at any time with customers are 10-pound bags of boneless chicken breasts containing “no water, no fat,” Jeff said.
The produce section features carrots, lettuce, onions, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes. In summer and fall, “we buy produce seasonally from local farmers,” Melissa said.
The Ingalls expanded the market’s gluten-free foods, which include breads, cereals, pastas, and rice. The bakery produces gluten-free baked goods, and the market even carries gluten-free barbecue sauces.
Six Mile Falls Market offers ready-to-go foods for breakfast and lunch, which “have grown substantially” in sales in the past year, Jeff indicated. The available takeout menu includes breakfast sandwiches, pizzas, salads, steamed hot dogs, cheeseburgers, fries, cold and hot sandwiches, and Roadies Fried Chicken.
For customers making their sandwiches at home, the market carries deli meats and cheeses. The market also carries soda, beer, and wine; according to Melissa, “we have increased the size of our wine department.”
Customers seeking information about available specials at the market can check its weekly ad in The Weekly, published Thursdays by the Bangor Publishing Co.
The Ingalls, who live in Glenburn not far from Six Mile Falls Market, wondered about the public’s response to the many changes. “We’ve had huge community support,” Melissa said. “We get compliments all the time” about “how welcoming our staff is here.
“We’ve quickly established friendships,” she said.
“Customers tell us how friendly our employees are,” Jeff said. “That’s important in this business.”
Ingalls’ Six Mile Falls Market is open 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Saturday and 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday. The market will offer a truckload meat sale from April 10-23; spectators flocking to nearby Six Mile Falls during the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race on April 19 can park at the market for $5 per vehicle. The Ingalls will provide a portable toilet for race spectators and will offer a broad takeout menu on race day.
For more information about Ingalls’ Six Mile Falls Market, call 942-4233.