By Ann Bryant, Staff Writer
WILTON — Papers were signed Tuesday turning Steve’s Market over to a new owner. But, at least, it is still in the family.
Steve and Rhonda Jones have sold the busy Depot Street convenience store to her brother, Roger Williams, now of Turner.
Most every thing will stay as is, Williams said. The name will change to Steve’s Family Market.
He has a few ideas including a new variety of pizza. But, he plans to continue serving sandwiches, pizza, beverages and groceries. He will also continue the store’s catering business, one well-known only by word of mouth.
“I have mixed feelings about selling,” Steve Jones said. “I absolutely love this store. I was 23 when I bought it.”
He loves the business but the long hours take a toll. The store is open 120-hours a week, serving 600-800 customers daily, year round, Jones said. There were over a thousand customers served July 4.
He’s always on-call, nights, weekends, Rhonda said.
After staying on a short period to help his brother-in-law get started, Jones is moving on to a new venture.
Jones has acquired a new franchise for temporary roll-off bins, the first franchise in the state, he said.
Known as, Bin There Dump That, the business provides nice-looking dumpsters or bins for short periods of time (10-12 days) along with special or extra services, he said.
(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)
The Canadian business is growing fast, Jones said. It started when a contractor noticed dumpsters were ugly and often harmed the property. Under the new business, boards are set down for the bin to sit on and other services are provided to protect the property while the bin is there.
Jones has already been trained in Toronto and plans to develop the Augusta to Portland area franchise from his home in Turner. He’ll start with 24 bins and hopes to build up to 75-90 bins.
“I’m out of the food business where I’ve been since 1981,” he said.
He has also gone from managing 45 employees at the Lucerne Inn down to about 16 at the store and now will work up to hiring four or five employees as the new business grows.
Rhonda said she would continue to work for the Auburn School Department as she has been since last August.
The couple sold the business to Rick Breau in 2004 who operated the business as Rick’s Market.
“I missed it from the day it sold,” Jones said.
(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)
He purchased the property, a large building with space for tenants on the second floor in 1981. A vehicle, parked too close to the building, started a fire destroying the building in 1992. The couple rebuilt the current store space that same year.
After selling to Rowe, they purchased and ran the Lucerne Inn in Dedham, near Bangor, for about 11 years before buying the Dryden store back in January of 2015.
But, now it is time to step down, he said.
Williams, who lives next door to the Jones in Turner, retired last month from Charlies Motor Mall in Augusta after working in the finance department there for 25 years.
“This is an opportunity to go on to a new challenge, be my own boss and own my own business,” Williams said.
His work at Charlies meant meeting a lot of people, which he enjoys. Customer service was a must, he said.
He knows his brother-in-law and sister will be near to share their wisdom about the store. Family is so important, he said about the name change.
He remembered their guidance, with a chuckle, as he worked at the store for a short time while he was in high school.
Williams was a graduate of Mt. Blue High School in 1985 and attended the University of Maine at Farmington. He lived in Farmington until 2000 before moving his family to Manchester, he said.
He plans to continue serving ATV and snowmobile riders coming off the Whistle Stop Trail near the intersection of Routes 2, 4 and 156 along with the regular customers who stop in for coffee, breakfast, pizza and more, he said.