C.N. Brown now partly owned by Bob Bahre


PARIS – Bob Bahre, an entrepreneur with a home in Paris, bought roughly a third of C.N. Brown Co. at the end of March, according to a lawyer for the diversified oil company.

Bahre, who owns Nascar-affiliated New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, bought 20,000 shares from the estate of Thursa Grace.

Grace was the sister of the company’s founder, Carlton N. Brown. Brown started the business in 1948 as a lumber company before branching into oil and variety stores.

Grace, who lived in Lovell, died Oct. 16, 2003. She was 88.

Suzanne Pinto, Grace’s niece and Brown’s daughter, said Tuesday evening she could not comment on the sale, except to confirm that the family had sold a significant portion of the company’s shares. Four family members inherited Grace’s estate.

Attorney Stephen Langsdorf in Augusta said Bahre also bought 2,700 shares from two of Grace’s nieces: Pinto and Carol Brown Walpole. A third niece, Nancy Brown Duncan, sold her shares previously, Langsdorf said. Pinto and Walpole have retained a small ownership interest of 150 shares each, he added.

Their brother, Carlton Brown Jr., retains his share of company stock.

“It’s not much of a story because there’s not going to be any changes in the company,” Langsdorf said. “The Jones family still owns majority of the stock, and there’s not likely to be any change in officers, or board of directors. The company intends to continue doing business exactly as they have.”

A representative for Bahre said he was out of the state. The former owner of the Oxford Plains Speedway didn’t immediately return a phone call.

The Jones family, which came into the business in the 1970s, owns the majority of C.N. Brown stock, Langsdorf said. In the early 1970s, Brown appointed Harold Jones, who lives in Norway, as general manager and CEO of C.N. Brown Co.

Langsdorf would not say how much C.N Brown is worth or how much Bahre paid for the shares.

“He’s still a minority shareholder at the end of the day,” Langsdorf said.

The company employs more than 1,000 employees, operates more than 90 Big Apple Food stores and 34 Red Shield Heating Oil offices, and services more than 100 gas stations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont that are leased or owned by independent operators.