“It has been a big loss for our townspeople and campers,” says Bruce Powell, referring to the recent closing of two convenience stores on either side of his campground located on Route 2 in Hanover. After careful consideration, Powell decided to take the plunge and open a full service variety store to meet the needs of the surrounding community.
The Stony Brook Variety, just a half mile east of Newry Corner, is located at Stony Brook Recreation. The business is officially open and the positive feedback and excitement is already building. “We’re glad you’re here,” and “We missed having a store in town,” say local patrons, whose only options have been either a trip to Bethel or Rumford. Now the folks of Hanover and Newry have a store close by to purchase groceries, newspapers, coffee, sandwiches and more. Even more important in this rural community is that there is once again a gathering spot to catch up on town happenings and socialize with neighbors and friends.
Bruce and Shirley Powell have owned and operated Stony Brook Recreation as a year round campground for nearly 30 years. The store has typically been open during the summer months, providing only limited supplies for campers. The space has since been revamped to include a wide selection of stocked items and seating for up to 10 customers who wish to eat in.
The structure was the former Ezra Chapman House, built in 1860. The Chapmans farmed the 100+ acres until 1962 when the family sold the property. The original entrance to the house now serves as a quaint dining area for the store.
Powell stocks a wide selection of groceries, including milk, eggs, cheese and bread, and serves foods such as hot and cold sandwiches, soups, pizza (whole or by the slice), hot dogs, coffee, homemade old fashioned donuts, muffins, breakfast sandwiches and more. Several newspapers are available including the daily Sun Journal, the Bethel Citizen and the Rumford Falls Times. Additional papers, by special request, may be obtained and set aside for patrons. There is an excellent selection of domestic and imported beers including specialty brews, too. The store also has wine, tobacco products, pet food, LP gas, ice, and firewood. Store hours are from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, and there is plenty of parking with easy in/out access.
Store Manager Gary Fleming, who lives at the property, and clerk Pete Morin, of Newry are very excited about the business as well. They welcome visitors as they enter and engage in friendly conversation with those who choose to stay awhile.
The Powells have been prominent members of the community for many years. Bruce, a former selectperson in Hanover, retired seven years ago from SAD 44, where he served as business manager. Two years ago, he returned to the school district, where he now works part time. Shirley works full-time as CEO of Indian Stream Health Center in Colebrook, N.H., where Bruce also does some consulting on special projects. The Powells’ daughter, Kristen Powell of Portland, will be coming to Hanover with her two children this summer to help with the store. The Powells also own Viewers’ Choice Video in Bethel and will have a select number of videos available at Stony Brook Variety for rent.
The Powells invite people to stop by the store at 3036 Main Street, Route 2, in Hanover. For information contact Stony Brook Variety at 824-2836.