by Nick Kaye
Special to The Weekly
BANGOR — Six months ago, Andy and Susan Stephenson set out to bring neighborhood markets back to Bangor. The couple has since opened three WeeBeez Deli & Market locations throughout the city. The stores, stocked with fresh meals, produce and baked goods, aim to strengthen and revitalize the surrounding community.
“As a kid, my mom would send me down to the store with $3 to pick up a gallon of milk, and I’d use the change to get penny candies for myself,” said Andy. “Susan and I wanted to create stores where we would feel safe sending our own children — stores that are community rallying points.”
The three WeeBeez markets, located at Court Street, Mount Hope Avenue and Capehart, were existing stores that Andy and Susan bought and renovated.
“We’ve done residing, repainting and more. We really wanted to beautify these neighborhoods,” said Andy. All three locations now sport a cheerful yellow and blue color scheme and bright lighting.
In addition to more conventional items such as chips and sodas, WeeBeez offers fresh produce, baked goods, and a menu of subs, pizzas, salads and fried foods, all prepared in-house. The Mount Hope Avenue and Capehart locations provide indoor seating areas for customers to enjoy their meals, and outdoor seating is forthcoming at Court Street.
“Earlier today, we had cartoons playing here at the Capehart location because a family had come in with young children,” said Andy. “We pay attention to who’s in here and what’s going to make them comfortable.”
WeeBeez also aims to give back to Bangor through quarterly community spotlights. They recently collected donations for the Manna Food Pantry, offering contributing customers 10 percent off their food orders. Andy and Susan personally gave a sum of money to the charity as well.
During the spring sports season, WeeBeez sponsored Bangor Soccer Club and Bangor West Little League teams. The store also ran a promotion offering free Powerades to young athletes who showed their jerseys.
Andy and Susan are already planning their next move. They have identified a handful of prospective locations in Bangor, and they’ve even considered expanding beyond the city limits.
“I think WeeBeez will be a very positive thing wherever it goes,” said Andy.
As for the name? “It’s comes from ‘We be.’ We be fresh, we be friendly, we be community, we be Bangor,” said Andy. “That’s what we’re all about.”
For information, visit weebeezco.com or check out the WeeBeez Facebook page.