Alicia and Joshua Bell have purchased Northern Lights Hearth and Sports in Farmington. Tom and Judy Upham started the business and sold it to Marty Farnum and Todd Richard in 1995, who owned it until Jan. 15. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

FARMINGTON — On Jan. 21, Joshua Bell and his wife, Alicia Bell, purchased Northern Lights Hearth and Sports from Marty Farnum and Todd Richard.

Joshua has worked at the business located on routes 2 and 4 for more than 13 years.

“We plan to settle in, then go from there,” Joshua said in an interview Wednesday, Jan. 20. “We want to grow the business. Plan to slowly change a few things over, offer some different lines. Nothing drastic.”

Northern Lights Hearth and Sports in Farmington has been purchased by Alicia and Joshua Bell of Farmington. The Bells are pictured with Marty Farnum and Todd Richard, at right, who had owned the business since 1995. Submitted photo

Sales of bikes, skis and stoves have kept the business busy this year, Joshua said.

“The heating side of the business has been extremely busy,” he said. “I can see it being busier this year. With the new administration, it may be even busier.”

It’s been a process to get to this point, Joshua said.

“I’ve always wanted to own my own business,” he noted. “Alicia is a crucial part to it, as are our boys. It’s not just a job. After working here with Marty and Todd for 13 years, it’s more like a family.

“Northern Lights is a good solid business that has been built on trust with the community, providing them high quality products that will last for years,” Joshua said. “Whatever we sell, we stand behind. The public knows when they come to Northern Lights, they’re going to be getting quality.”

“One of the reasons why we wanted to buy this business is not only to continue Northern Lights in the community, but also for our future,” Alicia said. “Giving our kids a place to work, learn a trade, start a work ethic here.”

The Bells have three sons. The oldest is 12 and come summertime, they may be seen running around at Northern Lights, Joshua said.

“We’ve hired, employed high school kids, given some the opportunity to get a first job,” he said.

Some work at Northern Lights, others at the rental shop at Titcomb Mountain, Alicia said.

“A lot of people don’t realize the rental shop there is ours,” she added.

Including the Bells, Northern Lights has eight full-time employees and a few part-time ones.

“We want customers to know Northern Lights is continuing,” Alicia said. “When they come in here, they’re going to receive the same kind of service they did before. We’re still selling the same products. There’s the same knowledge. Josh has worked here for so long, he knows.”

“We have long-term employees,” Joshua added.

Tom Upham began the business that became Northern Lights in his Wilton garage and moved it to Farmington in 1974. In 1995, Farnum and Richard bought the business and moved it to Front Street in Farmington. In 2004, they moved the business to its current location.

“As the reality of the sale of Northern Lights sinks in, thoughts of how we got here come into focus. Rewind 25 years and you find a fifth year coach at Carrabassett Valley Academy looking for a summer job and Northern Lights looking for a bike mechanic,” Richard wrote Jan. 18 on the Northern Lights’ Facebook page. “Time bends perception, but shortly after, someone I’ve known only for two months and I are signing paperwork that would bind our lives for two and a half decades.

“Now the time has come for someone else to take the helm,” he continued. “Josh and Alicia Bell and family know the business and what needs to be done.”

“For over 42 years I’ve been associated with Northern Lights,” Farnum wrote on the company’s Facebook page the same day. “The time has come to kindle a new fire.

“As our business changes ownership, we are confident it will be in the best of hands with the Bell Family,” he wrote. “They will continue to serve Western Maine, with fresh ideas and renewed energy.”

Northern Lights is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The rental shop at Titcomb Mountain is open 3 to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It is closed if the mountain closes.

For more information on Northern Lights Hearth and Sports, call 207-778-6566, visit their website https://www.northernlightsmaine.com/ or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/northernlightsmaine.

For information on Titcomb Mountain, call 207-778-9031 or visit their website http://www.titcombmountain.com/.

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