February 26, 2010

Hannaford to open on Route 1 in Kennebunk

ANN S

— By . KIM

Staff Writer

Hannaford Bros. plans to open a supermarket in a space in Kennebunk that was the sole Maine location of its rival Stop & Shop.

The Hannaford store will anchor the Shops at Long Bank on Route 1. The Scarborough-based company plans to open the store in the spring, but a specific date has not been set.

Hannaford bought the 56,800-square-foot building and an adjacent 4,300-square-foot retail space. The company expects to employ about 150 full- and part-time workers at the store. It plans to lease out the retail space.

''We think it's a good location for us,'' said company spokesman Michael Norton. ''It's a market that is strong and stable and has growth to it as well.''

The store will be bigger than what Hannaford would normally build, Norton said, but the company believes that the market is large enough and that the Route 1 location provides an advantage.

Hannaford stores are often in the mid-30,000 to mid-40,000 range for square footage. But the Kennebunk store will not be Hannaford's largest. The Forest Avenue store in Portland, for example, is more than 70,000 square feet.

Massachusetts-based Stop & Shop announced unexpectedly in October that it would shut down the supermarket at the end of that month. The store opened in 2007 after delays that included legal challenges by Hannaford, which owns 12 acres across Route 1 from the shopping center.

Norton said Hannaford has no immediate plans for the undeveloped land.

Robert Georgitis, chairman of Kennebunk's economic development committee, is glad that a supermarket will once again anchor the Shops at Long Bank.

He thinks Stop & Shop may have suffered because Kennebunk was at the far end of its supply chain. He said he believes Hannaford, as a major player in the area with a reputation for lower prices, will fare better.

''We're all Mainiacs at heart,'' he said. ''If we go into a store, if the prices are higher, we're not going to shop there.''

Hannaford is the wholesale supplier to about 30 stores, including Smaha's Legion Square Market in South Portland, the Bow Street Market in Freeport, Bud's in Pittsfield and the Garden Street Market in Kennebunk, Norton said.

Dan Bowen, the owner of the Garden Street Market, said it's a challenge any time a competitor comes to town. The arrival of Stop & Shop had a big effect on his business, he said, but a core group of customers remained.

''Our focus is going to be to continue to take care of the customers that choose to shop with us, just as we have for the last 14 years,'' Bowen said.

Bowen bought the former Shop 'n Save from Hannaford in 1996.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

akim@pressherald.com

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