This week, the Buzz is 90 percent good local news.

Rick Gowell, left, his wife, Bobbi, and his cousin Kevin Gowell pack up products from the former Greene IGA to donate to local food banks as they switch the store to Hannaford products. Submitted photo

Let’s start with the former Greene IGA on Route 202 reopening Thursday at 7 a.m. as Gowell’s Shop ‘n Save.

Rick Gowell, a third-generation grocer who owns Gowell’s Shop ‘n Save in Litchfield, said Tuesday the sale came together quickly.

“It just kind of happened on a whim,” Gowell said. “We called and said are you interested in selling? The previous owner said yes and we met that week. I think within seven days we had signed.”

Greene and Litchfield share similar demographics.

“It was a real good fit for us,” he said.


In turning the inventory over from IGA to Hannaford products this past week, Gowell estimated he had donated tens of thousands of dollars worth of produce, meat and IGA-labeled goods to food banks in Greene and Leeds and to one coming soon to Litchfield.

“We could have liquidated and tried to recoup some money that way, but we just thought the people of Greene and this area don’t know who we are,” Gowell said. “What better way to get to know the community and to help those people.”

Roughly 50 people worked at the IGA. All of the employees are being offered jobs at Gowell’s.

“Me and my wife are really excited,” Gowell said. “The real goal, we’re hoping within five years to build a brand new supermarket out there like we did in Litchfield, right on the same lot. We’d like to put a new gas station in. We’re hoping for other lease holders and tenants, really looking forward to developing the site and making it kind of a destination for that area.”

Next stop: Freeport

Sarah Legare, owner of EllieAnna Gift Shop in Lewiston, is opening a second location in Freeport, across from L.L.Bean, next month. Sun Journal photo by Kathryn Skelton

Sarah Legare heard the mantra this winter in an online group with other business owners: “If you think about it, act on it in five seconds.”


It was around Christmas. She had thought about expanding EllieAnna Gift Shop. Thought about Freeport. And quickly did a search on Craigslist.

“This spot pops up, the one and only listed in Freeport, and I know exactly where it is,” Legare said.

She met with landlords within the day. EllieAnna opens its second location next month at 114 Main St. in Freeport, the former home of Coastal Maine Popcorn, across from L.L.Bean.

Legare said she will continue to keep “home base” at 785 Main St. in Lewiston open, too. She started her shop 10 years ago and moved there four years ago.

She anticipates staying open year-round and filling the 2,500 square feet with popular lines of signs, jewelry and other whimsical gifts aimed at visitors.

“I do think Freeport has a really unique vibe,” she said. “The building I’m going into, I’m sandwiched between two other small, locally women-owned businesses, and we’re hoping to collaborate a lot with them. I’m super excited. I have that anxious tension of just wanting to get going on it.”


As for other people being inspired by that mantra, too?

“I need to cool it. No more five-second game plans,” she said, laughing.

Already paying less

Signs were already up Tuesday at Payless Shoes in the Auburn Mall announcing all sales were final.

Some items were steeply discounted and most were 20 percent off, with the exception of accessories.

The chain declared bankruptcy this week and all of its stores are expected to close between late March and May, according to CNBC, which developed a map of the number of stores to close by state.


Among those stats: Maine has 5, New Hampshire 11, Texas 187.

Growing out, over

Eighteen months after opening, Reveal Salon and Day Spa at 20 Union St. in Auburn has expanded.

Owner Melinda Small, who also owns the Legends Sports Bar & Grill and Pinetree Retirement Planning, said as business has grown, it discovered the salon’s three booths were too cramped to be comfortably used at once. Small has knocked out a wall, finished new lighting, spread out the booths and added a private reception area.

In Phase 2, the salon and spa will add two private spa rooms for massage, reiki and eyelash extensions to the two that exist now.

“I’ve just always developed business by saying you respond to the need,” Small said. “When you see it, you identify it and you make change.”


In this case, change came a little easier: She owns the insurance company next door. It does less in-person business today than 20 years ago, so she borrowed space from it to expand the salon.

“I’m very blessed,” she said. “Things work out.”

But I was coming right back!

A fun fact for your next dinner party, included in the recent, year-end Lewiston City Administrator’s Report: 7,839 of you got a parking ticket written by the Lewiston Police Department in 2018. That is up from 7,409 in 2017.

Feed those meters or see you here next year.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or

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