×

New Enfield Store Owners Expand Grocery Selection

  • Co-owner Mehul Patel stocks fruit at George's AG Super Value in Enfield, N.H., on May 1, 2018. Patel and his brother recently purchased the store in February. (Valley News - Carly Geraci) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Don Daniels, of Canaan, N.H., pumps gas at George's AG Super Value in Enfield, N.H., on May 1, 2018. The convenience store and gas station has gone through improvements after being purchased by new owners in February. (Valley News - Carly Geraci) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Co-owner Dhaval Patel prepares to stock grocery items at George's AG Super Value in Enfield, N.H., on May 1, 2018. Since buying the store with his brother in February, the Patels have started making improvements to the store. (Valley News - Carly Geraci) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Employee Stephanie Small hangs up a bag of candy at George's AG Super Value in Enfield, N.H., on May 1, 2018. Small has been working at the store for the past four years. (Valley News - Carly Geraci) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Enfield — The new owners of a long-standing general store in Enfield Village say they’re committed to serving the community by offering a wide selection of fresh foods and groceries.

Brothers Mehul and Devendra Patel purchased George’s AG SuperValue in February, and have been making changes continuously inside the Main Street store.

More organic foods, meats and fresh produce now line the shelves, part of the Patels’ plans to provide the Mascoma Valley with a small grocery store.

New items and an expanded selection have been provided in response to customers’ wishes for grocery items, Mehul Patel said in an interview on Tuesday.

“I want to fill the gap and I want to give the community what they’re asking for,” he said.

The owners also are open to introducing other offerings at George’s, including a deli, pizza station or ice cream, Patel said.

“I’m looking for suggestions so see that the demand is out there,” he said. “I just didn’t want to come in and toss everything up in the air, do it my way and not ask the community what they want.”

The Patels already own two convenience stores in Atkinson and Dover, N.H. But the brothers were looking to expand to grocery stores when they heard that George’s was for sale, Patel said.

“Plus the community is nice here. It’s pretty next to the lake,” he said.

The brothers declined to say how much they paid for the store, but town assessment records show they bought the building and land on Feb. 7 for $530,000 from the Loupis family, which had owned George’s for more than 50 years.

The change in ownership is a large improvement, said Stephanie Small, who has worked at the store for four years.

“We’ve gone through a lot of updates,” she said while working the register on Tuesday.

Those include new shelving, and a more organized layout. Employees also now are ordering food and grocery items based on customer demand, Small said.

George’s has a long history in Enfield, and first opened in 1957, when George Loupis purchased a different store near the Copeland Block from Canaan resident Harry Tucker.

“Those were the heydays,” Loupis recalled during a phone interview on Tuesday.

At the time, he said, the Baltic Woolen Mill was running three shifts a day, and business boomed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Enfield also had more businesses back then, and more people working around the village during the day, Loupis said.

In 1965, he opened shop in the current George’s building on Main Street, and operated it as a general store until his sons took over in 1993.

The store was widely known for selling a range of items, from groceries to fireworks and jewelry.

“Enfield was very good to me,” Loupis said. “It was not a job to me. It was a pleasure for me to go to work every day.”

After more than two decades on their own, Loupis said his children felt it was time to move on.

“I hope the new owners do well,” he said. “I’ve seen many improvements in the store already since they’ve taken over.”

For some, the store will always hold a special place within Enfield. That’s true for Michael O’Day, whose family hails from the town.

“It’s like an icon. It’s been here so long,” O’Day said during a trip to George’s on Tuesday morning. “I can’t remember when it wasn’t here.”

Others said the change would better serve Mascoma Valley residents, who have limited options for groceries outside of Lebanon and Plymouth, N.H.

Locals have long argued that the five-town region lacks grocers, especially those offering fresh produce.

While some general and convenience stores have attempted to fill the demand by expanding their offerings, others have countered those efforts aren’t enough to convince families to forgo a trip elsewhere.

“We use it pretty frequently. It’s a nice, convenient store to come to instead of going all the way out to Lebanon,” Enfield resident Bobbie Lynn Stone said.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.