By Brian Swartz Special to The Weekly VEAZIE — Customers shopped at Penobscot County’s newest convenience store even before it opened on April 21. And owners Chuck and Belinda Lawrence could not be happier. In late September 2013, the Lawrences bought an existing convenience store standing on approximately 0.9 acres at 1215 State St., Veazie, directly across from R.M. Flagg Co. The Lawrences decided to open a new convenience store at the location because Veazie “is a nice, small community on the outskirts of Bangor,” Chuck Lawrence explained. “It seemed like a nice place to do businesses,” he said. The Lawrences already owned six Tradewind Variety stores, including supermarkets in Blue Hill and Milo, and a convenience store that opened in 2013 at the intersection of Parkway South and Wilson Street in Brewer. Noticing that people traveling on Route 2 passed no other convenience stores between Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and downtown Orono, the Lawrences decided that a new Tradewinds Variety would fit well with Veazie. Describing town officials and residents as “supportive,” Chuck Lawrence said that building the new store went well. Workers demolished the existing building, and construction started on a 3,500-square-foot store that will offer customers some features not associated with the typical convenience store: • Inside the main entrance is The Wave Frozen Yogurt Cafe, described by Lawrence as “a self-serve frozen yogurt kiosk” that will serve nine rotating flavors of frozen yogurt that customers can enhance with some 30 toppings, including nuts, candies, some fresh fruit. The cafe is a signature Tradewinds Variety service. • So is The Cave, a massive walk-in cooler stocked with chilled sodas on one side and chilled beers (including Maine brews) on the other side. According to Lawrence, the cooler’s exterior resembles a rocked cave that customers enter to select their favorite drinks. • Right across from The Wave Frozen Yogurt Cafe is The Anchor Deli, where customers can order pizzas, sandwiches, hot foods, such as burgers, fries, chicken tenders and mozzarella sticks. • And just off the store’s entrance will be an outside cafe featuring umbrella-protected four picnic tables at which customers can relax and enjoy their Tradewinds meals. • Featuring a drive-up window and a walk-in counter, a Dunkin Donuts will open at the store in June, according to Lawrence. The Veazie Tradewinds will carry a nice selection of groceries provided by Capital Candy, which supplies the six other Tradewinds, he noted. “Our groceries are better priced than the normal convenience store,” he said. “We will have a nice wine selection [as well as] a small selection of frozen food [and] real affordable, delicious ice cream,” Lawrence said. The store’s two gas pumps (with four nozzles) opened in early April. Carrying Citgo gasolines, the pumps are open 24 hours a day. Motorists can obtain a three cent per gallon discount by paying cash. Tradewinds donates one cent per gallon to the Lafayette Center at Cancer Care of Maine in Brewer. The gas pumps attracted attention as soon as Lawrence opened them. “At the pump we seen to be getting a lot of through traffic from Orono, Old Town [and] Veazie,” he said. Many local residents work at Eastern Maine Medical Center or elsewhere in Bangor and Brewer; there is no other convenience store between EMMC and downtown Orono, so the Veazie Tradewinds fills an important niche. In fact, business has been good at the pumps. “Gas sales have exceeded my expectations,” Lawrence said. Potential customers started contacting him once they realized that a Tradewinds was coming to Veazie. “I’ve been getting emails, phone calls, messages from friends, people stopping in and asking when are we going to open,” he said. Tradewinds Variety is open 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. For information, call 922-2754.
Tradewinds Variety store opens new location in Veazie
Posted April 29, 2014, at 8:34 a.m.