Mallard Mart’s four stores were sold to Rusty Lantern Markets of Brunswick last month, reopening on Aug. 16 under their new name. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

REGION — An Oxford Hills convenience staple has changed hands – Mallard Mart stores, founded and operated by the Michaud family for more than 25 years have been purchased by Rusty Lantern Markets.

The properties swapped hands as of August 15; since then the four stores in Livermore, West Paris, Bethel and Norway have been in a process of transition. According to John Koch, CEO for Rusty Lantern Markets it was important to retain Mallard Mart’s 50 employees.

“The Michauds built a good team and we want to keep that in place,” Koch said. Benefits for eligible staff include health, dental and vision insurance. The company also offers short and long term disability insurance, food and beverage perks, and training and career advancement opportunities.

The first big difference customers noticed was the transition from Sunoco to Irving fuel. With Irving’s rewards, existing card holders gained more savings options and Mallard Mart’s regular customers have the option to join and save 10 cents a gallon when filling up.

Koch said another change that will take place is the coffee. The Oxford Hills stores will be stocked with self-serve Coffee by Design, based out of Portland. Menu items will not see much change, although he said that Rusty Lantern sandwiches, such as Reubens will be added and customers can expect to see more fresh foods featured in the future. There will also be larger grocery selections on store shelves.

When Mallard Mart stores in West Paris, Norway, Bethel and Livermore were sold, gasoline distribution switched over to Irving. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Rebranding work is being done over the next few months as cleaning, reorganizing and painting takes place.

With the addition of the four western Maine shops Rusty Lantern Markets now operates 22 stores, mostly in Maine but also two in New Hampshire and four in Massachusetts, and employs more than 300.

“We have known the Michauds for several years,” said Koch. “They did an excellent job taking care of their customers, employees and communities. There are many similarities to how we operate our stores. When Ed and Nancy Michaud decided to retire we knew it would be a good move for us.”

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