Jake Dunton on Friday, May 17, stands outside his store, Jake’s Home Furniture & Appliance. Originally Sears, Dunton said owning his own retail location was a dream come true. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

FARMINGTON — As more and more brick-and-mortar stores in Maine are facing the challenges of e-commerce and struggling labor force, Jake Dunton of Jake’s Home Furniture & Appliance is looking to keep his family legacy alive and provide a much-needed commodity for the community.

Located at 632 Wilton Road in Farmington, Jake’s Home Furniture & Appliance is housed in the building that had been Sears since the early 1990s. According to Dunton, his grandfather, Bill Dunton, purchased the location because he saw a need in the community.

“My grandmother actually did all the research,” Jake shared. “That was before the internet and everything like that. You go to the library, look over census reports and stuff like that, and they found out that this location was just really unique.”

Dunton attributed the uniqueness to the high turnover rate from places like Franklin Memorial Hospital and the University of Maine at Farmington, as well as the strong community support his grandfather received in the 12 years he owned the location.

“It was booming back then,” he said. “At one point, they were one of the highest volume stores in the country.”

Bill Dunton tragically passed one day after his birthday on April 23, 2022. Jake spoke highly of his grandfather, from his dedication to the Sears brand to his dedication to his family and community.


“I mean, everybody knew my grandfather and my grandmother,” he said. “They owned a bed and breakfast on High Street in Wilton, and they had all kinds of cool people, from celebrities and famous artists and writers and stuff that would stay there.”

“He was a great man,” he added.

Jake’s father, Brian Dunton, bought out the bed and breakfast and Sears to allow Bill and his wife, Katherine, to retire. Under his leadership, Sears saw continued growth in the community with a second location opening in Rumford.

Jake grew up around Sears, often lending a helping hand during the busier times of the year like Black Friday. The time to change hands came again in 2015, when Jake and his former business partner bought out the location from his father.

“I had finished up with college, and my dad wanted to see how I would fare, and if I liked it,” Jake said.

Jake Dunton on Friday, May 17, walks around his store, Jake’s Home Furniture & Appliance. Dunton feels by targeting mattresses and larger appliances, he is fulfilling a need in the community for people who want to “touch and feel” a product before making the investment. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

Dunton said he shadowed his father much in the same way his father shadowed his grandfather before eventually taking over the store. He had years of retail experience from the time he spent working in the store growing up, but once he took the reins, it felt like a perfect match.


“Honestly, I became so invaluable to the business that it couldn’t have gone any other way,” he said. “I had to do it, not because I wanted to, but just because I took it to another level.”

During his time with Sears, Dunton said he pushed the sales volume of the store enough that it placed 12th in the nation for Sear’s sales volume. If the company had not filed for bankruptcy, Dunton stated that he would still be working with Sears.

“It’s always been a dream to be where I am now and to do this, but I was happy with Sears,” he said, saying that he missed the brand, but felt the company was mismanaged towards the end.

Ultimately, Dunton feels he is in a better position to service the community now that he has greater control over pricing and what type of products to sell, adding that the loss of Bouffard’s Furniture & Carpet along with Sears created a void in the market.

“I kinda had to get the product that [Sears] wanted,” he said. “Now I can be more receptive to the community. If everyone comes in and they’re like, ‘hey Jake, do you have this?’ and I’m like ‘no, no, no’, well eventually, I can say ‘well, you know what, I’m gonna go out and find that for everybody and get that in here’.”

Even though the store has only been open since February, Dunton said he is already keeping pace with where he was at with Sears before the closing, and by shifting the direction of his retail store towards mattresses, furniture, and larger appliances, he feels he will be able to easily compete with e-Commerce sites like Amazon.

“These types of goods, especially in this community, people like to touch and feel, and people like to talk about them before they make the purchase,” he said. “Not just looking at a computer screen and saying, ‘I wonder how that feels’.”

Jake’s Home Furniture & Appliance offers delivery, installation, and servicing. For more information, please visit during business hours or call 207-778-5758.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story