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Hope General Store celebrates two years under new ownership

Feb 18, 2021
Courtesy of: Damon McClure Hope General Store owners Damon McClure, Simi Delevett and their daughter, Svea, celebrate two years running the business Feb. 15.

Hope — Hope General Store owners Damon McClure and his wife Simi Delevett celebrated two years of owning the longstanding local business on Feb. 15.

The couple has made a life around the work. They live in the apartment above the store with their daughter, Svea Delevett.

“Hope General has been in the same location since 1832, making it one of the oldest continually operating General Stores in Maine,” McClure said. “It was closed for a short period in the 1990s, but had been a general store for almost the full 189 years. We are looking forward to celebrating 200 years in 2032!”

The couple bought the store from Michael and Heather Forcillo, who owned it for about 5 years, and had purchased it from Andrew Stewart (who was the one who re-opened the store in its current layout).

“We were careful to keep the store very much the same as we learned the business and the community. There is a reason the store has survived all these years… We have increased the wine selection, and maintained an extensive beer list. In terms of the store offerings, we have expanded our gluten-free selections and our gift items.”

People in the area have responded to the business.

“It has been the best part of the experience,” McClure said. “People have welcomed us so warmly, and really do love the store. We have people stop in all the time and talk about how they shopped there 50 years ago when they were little kids.”

He said Hope General is the hub of the town, and a good place to hear all the news. Staff know many of the locals by name including returning summer visitors.

The store has been weathering the pandemic.

“We have been lucky in that we are an ‘essential business,’ so we never had to fully close down,” he continued. “We have shortened our hours slightly, limited the number of customers in the store at one time, and closed our indoor seating, but overall we have managed well. Our staff have been amazing in dealing with the mask mandates, and increasing our sanitation practices, but overall our customers have understood the things we have had to do to keep everyone safe. We are looking forward to allowing people to sit and eat in the store again, or just sit and chat while having a coffee. Also we see far less kids in the store which has taken some of the life out of the place. We are looking forward to things returning more to normal as soon as possible.”

As for favorite items, from the kitchen, the pizza receives strong reviews and the store’s most popular sandwich is probably the Orchard (turkey, apple, Brie and carmelized onions on a toasted baguette). From the store, people love the raw honey, maple syrup and candles from Sparky’s (right down the road in Hope) and Little Lad’s popcorn and tarts.

“And we always sell lots of ice cream and beer year round.”

The business has eight employees including both owners and their daughter. Hope General Store can be found at loc8nearme.com/maine/hope/hope-general-store/3347916/.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Langley Willauer | Feb 18, 2021 19:25

Hooray for this awesome family!! We love their/our Store.



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