Some Big Changes Come to Pelham Stores
by Karen Plumley
Changes are as sure as the falling leaves in autumn. There is no guarantee what these disruptions in our routine will bring, but there is one thing that is crystal-clear: change is unavoidable. “People don’t like change”, said Bob Demeo, store manager at Pelham’s Victory Market, regarding the recent slow down in business. Hannaford Brothers of Portland, Maine bought Pelham’s only local grocery store in November, along with 19 other Victory Markets in the area. Buy-outs are not new to this location, however; in 1996 the store was known as Purity Supreme. This latest transition has not been particularly obvious to the public thus far. However, on April 18 Hannaford will begin a more rigorous revision schedule that includes replacement of the outdoor signs, interior painting, grocery reorganization, new lighting and decor, new carriages, produce cases, bakery tables, and check stands, and management office construction. “We will keep the store open throughout the entire construction process”, said Mr. Demeo. No major expansion or reconstruction is being considered at this time.
A buyout of this magnitude usually brings with it some fallout, but luckily for the approximately 109 Victory employees there will not be any reduction in personnel, and no pay cuts. “The benefits are actually better”, said Demeo, clearly pleased that he will be retaining his position as well as his rate of pay. As far as how the customer will be affected, there have already been some price modifications. “We will be bringing the pricing in line with other stores”, said Karen Epstein, a member of Hannaford public relations in Portland. “We have dropped prices on over 13,000 items”. Robert and Stephanie Dufour, Pelham residents and regular Victory shoppers, have noticed the change in their bill already. “We shop here every couple of weeks, and now we can get more items for the same amount of money”, said Mrs. Dufour. She has also noticed that the quality and price of meats has improved. Another regular shopper and 20-year resident of Pelham has shopped at the store consistently even during the “Purity days”. Her concern is that some of the products she usually buys are no longer available at the store. Instead, “many have been replaced with Hannaford brand products”, she said. According to Demeo, any product that is in demand can be brought back. “We can also order special products at the customer’s request”, claimed Demeo.
Mr. Demeo, whose wife and two sons also work at various Victory Market locations, could not have been more positive about the change. “We loved working for Victory, but the Hannaford personnel have been terrific throughout the conversion”, enthused Demeo. The grand opening of the new Hannaford store is expected to take place on June 26.
On a smaller scale, the Tanner family purchased M & D’s Mini Market on Mammoth Road in Pelham in early October. A busy little lunchtime location for construction workers and various other town employees will be getting a major facelift. Mary Kay and David Tanner, 25-year residents of Pelham, were approached by the previous owner with an offer that they could not refuse. “This is my retirement home”, chuckled Mrs. Tanner. Now the entire family, which includes the Tanners’ daughter Jessica, 15 and son DJ, 14, is working to spruce up the store and give it a more down home country feel. “We want it to be more in line with the historical theme of Pelham”, said Tanner. David Tanner even envisions having a selection of hardware, giving the place a “general store” quality. The Tanners, whose enterprise is now referred to as “Hillside Country Store and Deli”, are eagerly awaiting the new sign currently on order. Other plans on the horizon consist of landscaping, installation of a farmer’s porch, and expansion of the building to include a brand new kitchen. During renovation, Hillside Country store will do its best to remain open.
Unlike Victory, business at the mini market has significantly increased with the buyout, and customers that were in attendance for lunch on Friday were unanimously “pleased with the change”. “The help is accommodating and the food is great”, said one lunchtime customer. As do many longtime residents, he expressed concern about changes going on all around him in the town. It seems however that this is one change that he will be able to enjoy.
Pelham Twirler Competes in National Twirl Mania
The Red Star Twirlers of Derry, New Hampshire, recently competed at the Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in the national Twirl Mania baton competition. These girls took home many team and individual awards, including the high school division where these five young ladies won first place.
Meghan Lamontagne is the only twirler to attend Pelham High School, but often brings her teammates to perform with her at football and basketball halftime shows. Since the other high schools limit the twirlers’ performances to once or twice a year at the respective sports, the girls received permission from their coach, Gina Branley Hutchinson, and the administration at Pelham High School to represent Pelham High in this event.
Breakfast Buffet at Pelham Fish and Game Club
by Lynne Ober
By the time the doors opened at Pelham Fish and Game Club’s Community Breakfast, the cooks had been hard at work for hours and the breakfast buffet was set up and waiting for hungry customers.
The breakfast buffet, open to the public, is one of Pelham’s best kept secrets. Offered the second Saturday of the month from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., it makes a great start to the day. You can munch on eggs, pancakes, French toast, bacon or sausage, sip coffee or juice all while catching up with your neighbors.