PARIS — Jack Shaner said Wednesday that his decision to sell his Main Street restaurant was the “hardest and most emotional decision I’ve made in my entire life.”

Last October, he reached out to representatives from a company that purchases and develops real estate for Family Dollar retail stores. Over the course of months, the developers and Shaner worked on a purchase and sale agreement for Shaner’s Family Restaurant, the iconic landmark at 193 Main St.

In a Wednesday interview in his office, Shaner confirmed the planned sale of the restaurant and a half acre of land. He declined to discuss a purchase price.

A site plan for a new Family Dollar retail store at the site was submitted to the Planning Board on Friday, according to Town Clerk Elizabeth Knox.

Despite rumors about the sale circulating Oxford Hills for months, Shaner was reluctant to go public until he was sure the deal was really going through, he said.

Shaner broke the news to his 18 employees last week and decided it was an appropriate time to let the wider community, which he has called his home since 1979, know.

Prior to his purchase of the restaurant in January 1985, Shaner worked at its predecessor, Goodwin’s Dairy Shop. The original clock from the shop is still affixed to the front of the building.

Shaner and his family operated the business for almost three decades. As the years wear on, however, he has started to lose the energy he once had to keep the business up to his exacting personal standards.

“I felt that it was a very appropriate time to step down because I didn’t think I had the energy I needed to perpetuate Shaner’s the way it has been for the last 29 years,” he said.

“If I can’t feel satisifed in the job I’ve done, it’s a sign that it’s time to retire,” he said.

Shaner said if Family Dollar hadn’t entered the picture, he would have continued operating the business, even though the resources necessary to maintain the old building are immense. “I’d just have to make it work,” he said.

This past October, in the aftermath of a controversial proposal to locate a Family Dollar store next to the nonprofit McLaughlin Garden farther north on Main Street, Shaner contacted the company to see if they would be interested in his property. He said he didn’t believe the original location was a good idea, purely because of the complications it would have created for traffic in the area.

He said he feels overwhelmed by the entire experience, but cherishes the relationships he has with his employees and customers, especially a tight-knit group of regulars he described as “family.”

Even though he understands the personal connection many in the community have with the restaurant, he believes that having a strong, viable company invest in Main Street may provide a stimulus for further economic development.

“In the long run, it’s the best thing to happen for the community,” he said. “This was the right time to sell.

“If I kept running the business and didn’t do it properly, I’d be doing a disservice to the memories people have of this place. I want to go out on a positive note,” he said.

Shaner said the restaurant is scheduled to close April 1.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: