In this file photo, Danforth's Down Home Supermarket in Hermon is pictured on opening day in December 2007. Credit: Krevin Bennett / BDN

PITTSFIELD, Maine — After taking over his father’s business and keeping several grocery stores going for 68 years in central Maine, Dean Homstead, the owner of Bud’s Shop ‘n Save, is retiring and has sold the store to Danforth’s Down Home Supermarket in Hermon.

The official change of ownership will take place on Jan. 2, 2022. Danforth’s Down Home Supermarket will retain all of the Bud’s Shop ‘n Save employees during the transition, General Manager Brett Danforth said Monday.

Danforth’s, which has been open and operating as a family business since December 2007, has been looking to acquire a second location for five to six years. Although the name and look of Bud’s will change, the presence of a small town, locally owned grocery store in Pittsfield will remain — something both businesses are excited about and emphasized is important for the community.

The decision to sell Bud’s was bittersweet, but Danforth’s acquiring the business is the best possible fit, Homstead said. He reached out to Danforth’s in August about selling the grocery store.

“All good things must come to an end,” he said. “I had two other stores [in Dexter and Newport] that I sold in 2016 to Hannaford and kept this store. It’s been in Pittsfield for 62 years.”

Homstead’s father Frank “Bud” Homstead first opened Bud’s Shop ‘n Save in 1953. He then bought the grocery stores in 1985 and had a business partner, Dan Hill, for some time. Homstead has owned the grocery stores on his own since 2002, he said.

He informed employees on Monday that Danforth’s would be taking over in the new year.

“They’re very excited to think that another family and store that’s family-owned is taking it over,” he said.

Having the chance to expand Danforth’s business provides more opportunities for employees and the Hermon and Pittsfield communities, Danforth said. He highlighted training and advancement opportunities as examples.

Danforth’s father, Richard Danforth, owns the grocery store, and Brett Danforth oversees management.

“Also with a larger size and a larger market share, you have the ability to weather some of the ups and downs better as well,” he said. “Going through COVID over the last couple years has highlighted the fact that having the ability to weather those bumps in the road would be great as we intend to continue to operate as a family-owned company for many years.”

Both Bud’s and Danforth’s are wholesaled by Hannaford.

The Danforth’s second location in Pittsfield won’t necessarily hire for new positions right away, though Bud’s and Danforth’s currently have positions open, Danforth said.

“We’re going to hire them on and grant them their seniority,” he said about current Bud’s employees. “Their hire date when they worked for Bud’s will continue as they’re hired for Danforth’s.”

For the Pittsfield community, he hopes residents find some comfort knowing their hometown store won’t experience dramatic changes. Both companies are known for valuing customers and treating their employees well, Danforth said.

“Yes, [there will be] a new owner and maybe new management, but there’s not going to be a whole lot of change that’ll be seen other than maybe a different uniform and signs on the walls,” he said.

Homstead is looking forward to enjoying time with family, camping and working on home projects during his retirement.

“I just think the continuity of a small town grocery store that’s locally owned is probably the key to this whole thing that’s making everybody happy and comfortable,” he said.