New name. New focus. Shorey takes over Main Street store from his father

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NORWAY – In 1978, Chris Shorey started out sweeping the floors while his dad, Frank, ran the family business on Main Street.

Now, Chris has taken over Western Auto of Norway at 313 Main St. and put his son to work sweeping the floors.

By the spring, the store will have a new name and a new look, Chris Shorey said. He will phase out the store’s hardware and lawn and garden sections to focus on furniture, appliances and bedding.

Shorey said the store will have a new facade, using grant money, which will advertise the store’s new name, Main Street Furniture and Appliances.

Just naming the store was a long process, Shorey said. It had to represent the type of business and keep the “small town business feel.”

Shorey said he also considered relocating, looking up and down Route 26, but, “We felt a commitment to Main Street.”

Shorey said the flux of businesses leaving Main Street does not concern him because he’s confident in his ability to change with the times.

“We’re creative and aggressive and not afraid to change,” Shorey said.

The business prides itself on personalized service, expertise in products and having a local feel.

“We’ll deliver it and bring it into their home, not just leave it on the doorstep,” Shorey said. “The owner is in the store, and I take personal satisfaction on every transaction. Who do you hold accountable in big box stores?”

The shop has long-term relationships with furniture vendors, Shorey said, and hopes now to establish more.

Local people have learned to count on them, Shorey said. At the new Paris Elementary School, store employees installed 27 televisions – one for each classrooms – and all of the appliances.

When Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School was built, school officials purchased about 100 televisions for those classrooms, Shorey said.

He said he scaled back on products offered because “it got to be too difficult to try and do everything.”

While most of the store’s stock of snowblowers hasn’t budged all winter, people visit the store from all over Western Maine to buy furniture.

The store used to sell auto parts – hence the name – and other items, such as pools.

That was before department stores, Shorey said.

Frank Shorey purchased the store from the Schiavi family, who opened it in the mid-1900s. Five “entrepreneurs” initially took over, and hired him to manage the store. He was so impressed by the business he bought it.

Prior to taking over, he had worked in retail at Sears.

Frank Shorey is retiring, and has scaled back to minimal duties in the shop, while spending the rest of his time at his home in Florida. He said he has left the store in good hands with his son.

“Oxford Hills is a wonderful community,” he said. “My wife, myself and my son have considered it home for the last 28 years.”

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