8,800 cars pass the corner of Route 4 and Maple Street in Enfield NH each day. The hum of traffic is music to the ears of Ed Kerrigan, owner of Jake's Market and Deli, who hopes to open Jake's 11th Upper Valley store there as soon as next spring.
It's early in the project's development. Purchase and sale agreements are in place for two adjoining properties: a 3-acre parcel that was the home of the former Tinkham's store and a 1-acre parcel that is the current site of Enfield Hardware and Supply, slated to close on May 19.
According to Bruce Bergeron of Jake's, a new facility will be built on the site. It will provide gas and diesel service, and a barista-manned café with inside seating and a drive-through window, serving Jake's specialty coffee drinks and baked goods. There will be both grocery and hardware/home supplies components; how much of a presence for each is still being considered. A car wash may also be part of the mix.
Food--grab and go as well as made to order--has been an important part of the convenience store's offerings since the founding of its first store on Mechanic Street in Lebanon, NH almost 20 years ago. Food is prepared at each individual site, and includes hot and cold entrees, deli sandwiches, salads, and snacks. Bergeron stated that the trend is for healthy alternatives. He and his staff spent time recently at a test kitchen, sampling new products with an eye toward keeping the food at Jake's in tune with the public demand.
Muriel's famed donuts are baked at her home in Lebanon and available at Jake's Market and Deli on Mechanic Street.
Jake's Market and Deli is a local, home-grown business. Kerrigan and Bergeron met while working together at Johnson and Dix, a local heating oil company, in the late-1980s. Kerrigan left to start Jake's and Bergeron sought other opportunities. About 10 years ago, Bergeron joined his former colleague at Jake's Market and Deli, when it had only 3 locations. Today there are 10 throughout the Upper Valley.
Change is not always welcome for some. I have previously written here about long-time enterprises, like Roy's Auto Service in Lebanon NH and Killdeer Farm in Norwich VT, in which owners retire and new businesses replace them to address different needs. (Lucky's Coffee Garage will occupy Roy's space; Crossroad Farm will operate the former Killdeer farm stand on Route 5 in Norwich. Killdeer remains as an operating farm at its Butternut Road location.) Today, Bergeron notes that people want and need quick and prepared foods; fewer want to cook, and are less inclined toward sit-down restaurants. Enfield and surrounding communities are sizeable enough to support a market like Jake's, in between a small corner shop and a full-fledged supermarket in concept and size. Bergeron reports that initial reactions from Enfield area residents have been largely positive.
Bergeron is a lifelong resident of the Upper Valley, born and raised in Lebanon NH. He is enthusiastic about the convenience store business and is a member of Local First Alliance, a nonprofit that seeks to encourage keeping it local. "Everyone's dollars go someplace," he says, and urges Upper Valley residents to think about where they spend their money as an active choice. Community support of local businesses is reciprocal; it generates in turn business's support for the community. Bergeron and others at Jake's sit on boards of local nonprofits and give back in dollars and time. Local First puts its similarly; "Thinking local first means . . . voting with your dollars for the kind of community you want to have."
As of the date of this posting, an artist's rendering of the proposed building was not yet available. Stayed tuned for further information as this project continues.
(Use of photographs and logo by permission of Jake's Market and Deli)
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Susan B. Apel, writer, ArtfulEdge