Sep 13, 2015 8:01 PM
After 24 years, locally-owned Durham Marketplace bought out by big chain Hannaford
DURHAM - For more than two decades, the Durham Marketplace has been one of the few locally-owned grocery stores around. But its owner says "the time is right" to call it quits.
The store made its last sale on Sunday - and will soon be taken over by a much larger grocery chain.
"It’s been a wonderful place to go and shop, and catch up with people," said Amanda Merrill, who has been shopping at the store since it opened.
The store's owner, Chuck Cressy, said his landlord had asked him if he'd be willing to expand the business to stay competitive in the developing downtown.
But Cressy, 64, thinks its time to sell out.
A lifelong grocer, he decided to make a deal with his former employer: Hannaford.
"There was no pressure; it wasn't a negative situation. They're helping me get the best return for our inventory," said Cressy. "Hannaford has already got plans to make this a bigger and better store."
But for the customers who have come to know always-present Cressy personally over the years, watching their hometown shop be sold to a regional chain is not easy.
“Our kids all started working here - some of their first jobs," said longtime customer Craig Seymour. "So, they’ve been really good to the community and given back in a lot of ways.”
As some of the older shelves become empty, new ones have already started to be filled with Hannaford brand products.
The store is located at the heart of the University of New Hampshire campus and offered much more than just groceries.
“Come in sometimes to buy a birthday present, you know? As well as whatever you needed for dinner," said Merrill.
The store will likely expand over the next year. Several employees have decided to leave following the closure, including one woman who has worked in the front of the Durham Marketplace for 19 years.
As for Cressy, he says he isn't done either.
“I’m not going to retire," he said. "I’ve been thinking about a number of different jobs in the food industry that I could do.”