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Keep ME Open: Maine family takes on new business in the middle of the pandemic

The Richards have been trying to buy North Yarmouth Variety since fall, but the sale was not finalized until this month with COVID-19 restrictions still in place.

NORTH YARMOUTH, Maine — Between juggling jobs, two daughters and now a new business, Hannah and Dan Richards have their hands full. 

This week they became the new owners of North Yarmouth Variety, a convenience store that sells everything from gas and washer fluid to craft beer and pizza.

"It's been busy trying to pull it all together and get the back of the house and everything going while staying open," Dan Richards said. 

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They never thought they would be doing it in the middle of a pandemic. 

The Richards said COVID-19 made the financing process a bit more challenging. 

After weeks of working through the numbers, they were able to figure it out, but they said everything from the house, their cars, and savings is on the line. 

"[Dan] is more of the optimistic visionary and I'm a little more of the pragmatic, poring over numbers," Hannah Richards said.

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The store is limited to only five customers at a time inside, with a Plexiglass shield at the register and all the employees in masks. 

So far David Richards said most all of the people coming in have been understanding and supportive. 

It's a beautiful day to reset, relax and remember. Both of o... ur grandparents served in the armed forces and we feel immensely grateful for all those who have given their lives, or put them on the line for our country. We'll be open 7am-3pm today - with free coffee all day for veterans and active duty service members.

"The community has been great. They've been wanting to buy hats and t-shirts," he said. "We're just trying to take what's here and make it better."

The family is still working out some kinks, like a system to take food orders over the phone and online. Until then, they are still serving up to-go sandwiches and pizza in person. 

David has been working upwards of 15 hours a day keep things running smoothly, and Hannah is still working a full-time job while taking care of the kids. 

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All things considered, they are making the most of a difficult situation for the town and their family. 

"In the end, any business is a risk whether you open in a pandemic or not," Hannah Richards said. "So it's just a matter of believing you can do it and taking it day by day."

North Yarmouth Variety is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can find them on Facebook

You can find local small businesses open near you by going to the Open Near Me section of our website.


At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.newscentermaine.com/coronavirus

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