Even dreams have to end.

Although Christine McClellan says that buying Sunset Variety with her husband, Don, was like “a dream come true,” she quickly adds that now they “are tired and want to retire.”

“We thought we were younger when we bought it,” Don said.

The couple purchased the convenience store and gas station on Route 302 in Raymond back in 1994 when their two children were “just the right age,” according to Christine. Travis and Jennifer, now 32 and 36, respectively, were old enough to be a big help – both by working in the store and by attracting their friends as employees and customers.

The McClellans had big plans for the property when they first acquired it. And they still have the architectural renderings depicting their dream of a collection of village stores. But they hadn’t owned it for long when they were told that due to new regulations, they would need upgrades to the gas tanks, even though there had never been a problem. Because of this unexpected expenditure, the money they’d allotted for the new stores was gone.

Sunset Variety and the gas pumps sit on the middle portion of a three-acre piece of land owned by the McClellans. Eight months ago, they tried to sell the whole property together, without advertising or listing it. They had two prospective buyers that both fell through after almost six months.

Now the middle portion, including the store and gas pumps, is listed with ERA Today for $950,000. The McClellans already have a purchase and sales agreement on the northern part of the property.

They are holding onto the southern third, which will be the new location of the Mosquito, a popular summer ice cream shop that is currently on the other side of the property. Christine plans to rebuild the shop and have it up and running by warm weather.

At this point, the McClellans aren’t sure what they’ll do with all their free time. Christine has her work on the Comprehensive Planning Committee and says she has a list “a mile long” of what she wants to do. But, for right now, Don just says he wants a day off – or two.

In this business, days off are rare, the couple says. The couple has taken only one vacation since they’ve owned the store and that was for four days, six years ago. Relaxation is definitely on their priority lists.

But they know they will miss the people they see every day – their connection to the community that has made the business so much fun for both of them.

“We really hope the buyer will bear in mind that this growing and great community of Raymond will support local business,” Christine said. “Our local residents have supported us all these years – they’ve been our bread and butter. And the summer people – they’ve been our gravy.”


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