RUMFORD – It’s almost like family.
That’s the feeling of the employees at IV Corners variety store at Lincoln Avenue and Hancock Street.
By next Tuesday, after 26 years in business, the doors will close.
“It’s heart-wrenching,” said Sue Clark, a manager of the store for 20 years. “A lot of people have touched my life, and hopefully I touched a lot of peoples’ lives. When I came to work here, it was to get the kids through high school, then college, and now there are grandkids.”
Her own children helped put themselves through college by working at the convenience store.
“Everyone here is like family,” said eight-year employee Nancy Bouchard. “We have regular customers; you know what they want to buy.”
Sometimes, the regulars just come in to chat.
“You know who went to the hospital, who has had a grandchild,” said Clark.
Co-owner Wilfred Blouin said 26 years in the same business is enough.
“I’m getting ready to retire and have had a couple of interested people in the business,” he said Wednesday morning. The store has been on the market for about two years.
He and Dennis DiConzo bought the former gas station in 1979. They immediately changed it into a convenience store offering sandwiches, coffee, pizza and other foods, as well as gasoline. Blouin also owns Four Corners Bottle Redemption on Waldo Street.
“Customers aren’t happy that we’re closing,” said Bouchard.
Robert Sterry of Mexico is one of them.
He’s been stopping nearly everyday at the store for sandwiches or cigarettes for about eight years.
“It will be a loss. I think it should stay open,” he said.
Clark said the state unemployment people and representatives from the state’s CareerCenter will meet with the business’ 13 full- and part-time employees on Friday.
“It’s so sad,” said Misty Marston, an employee for four years. “I’ll miss the people I work with. It’s been so much fun.”
Lee Phillips, another employee, agreed.
“It’s like one big family, like we’re brothers and sisters,” he said.