SOUTH PORTLAND — Smaha’s Legion Square Market has been sold to Alan Cardinal of Scarborough, a former Hannaford Supermarkets executive who will run the grocery store and butcher shop with his wife, Sylvia Most.

Tom Smaha, whose father started the store in 1939, looked for a buyer who shared his commitment to the community and employees, according to a prepared statement.

Smaha was not immediately available for comment. He will act as a consultant for the business for the first three months and help during the holidays, Cardinal said.

“Tom knows where all those turkeys go at Thanksgiving,” Cardinal said, referring to the two tractor-trailers worth of turkeys that the store sells during the holidays.

“My family and I talked about finding our own business to run. This one was an attractive business — a good style for us to have,” said Cardinal, who worked for Hannaford for eight years.

Hannaford is a wholesale supplier to Smaha’s.

Cardinal declined to say how much he paid for the business, which has six to seven full-time workers and 14 or 15 part-timers.

He said he will make some minor changes, such as giving the store a paint job and upgrading the lighting, but otherwise he plans to continue operating in the tradition of the Smaha family.

“Tom had done a great job. They have a very loyal following. We hope to keep that going,” Cardinal said. “We have a wonderful butcher shop. We grind our own hamburger several times a day.”

Smaha’s also serves some restaurants in the area, and hopes to add more.

Dave Rolfe, who started coming to Smaha’s in the 1950s with his parents, said he’s drawn by the quality of the butcher shop, the friendly attitude of the employees and the neighborhood feel.

“It’s one of the last neighborhood stores around,” said Rolfe, who is retired and lives in Portland. “The people are great. They have an old-fashioned meat market. Everything is priced fairly. It’s very competitive.”

Carl Thoits of Buxton, who has worked at Smaha’s for 30 years, knows many customers by name. He said he tried to retire six years ago but he just kept coming back to work. He now works two days a week.

“It’s been a good job. Retiring didn’t work out so well. I’m still here,” Thoits said.

 

Staff Writer Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at: [email protected]