Chuck Hendrick goes to Camden's Hannaford once (okay maybe three times) a day

Hannaford Supermarket's renovations through the eyes of one of their best customers

Fri, 02/15/2013 - 7:00pm

Story Location:
145 Elm Street
Camden, ME 04843
United States

CAMDEN — "Chuck, how many times would you say you come to the Camden Hannaford Supermarket a day," I asked.

"Oh geez, I try not to be here any more than once a day," he said.

"He's here twice a day if not more," said Hannaford Customer Service Manager Allie Bowen.

"Well it's like yesterday, I just got back from Hannaford and Kathy says, 'Did you get the half and half cream?' cause she can't stand having her coffee with just milk, so I had to come back. I'm embarassed when I have to come back again and they always say 'oh it's you again,'" said CHuck Hendrick.

Hendrick, 79, grew up in Camden and has seen the evolution of the grocery chains in this spot through the years. In the early 1950s, he said it was just a lot filled with open woods and fields. "Then they built the highway," he said, referring to Route 1. "'Cause you used to have to go through Rockport."

The town's only chain grocery store started as Camden IGA Food Liner, originally located at Tannery Lane, then later in the Reny's Plaza location, before it moved to where Hannaford now sits near the Camden and Rockport line. It was originally owned by Norman Cote, and later, by Harold Crockett. IGA was eventually bought by Graves Supermarket in 1998 and Hannaford Supermarket took over in 2007. Just this winter, Hannaford has begun working on renovating and expanding the size of the store, tearing through what was the old Movie Gallery walls to make room for its new and improved produce section.

You know you live in a small town when people are really buzzing about the grocery store's new renovations. "People are excited," said Bowen. "The renovation has been a long time coming. We're putting in a pharmacy. We're getting about 3,000 new products in the store and new things in the deli and bakery. We're getting a sushi chef and a new recyclable bottle service, so it will be much cleaner."

"It's very nice," Hendrick agreed. "There's a better selection now and I don't have to go very far. I would like to see some small golf carts to get around the place, with a basket on it. Bobby agrees with me," he said referencing Bob Josselyn, the store's general manager.

"Do you know everybody here on a first-name basis?" I asked.

"No, not really," said Hendrick.

"Yes, he does," said Bowen.  "And we all know his dog, Homer, because we can hear him howling in the parking lot while we push carts."

Asked why he comes to Hannaford at least once a day, Hendrick said, "Well, it used to be once a week I'd come do a shop, but we've got a bunch of kids and they come eat all the food up. Not that I mind — they've got to eat, but then they'd take all the leftovers home so I gotta come back here."

Walking around the new section of the store, he said he liked the new paint job and the open space. "Do you know every aisle by heart?" I asked.

"Yeah, unfortunately," Hendrick said.

"What's your favorite aisle?" I asked.

"The rum aisle," he said. We took a walk on over to it. I like how he calls the entire aisle "the rum aisle," as if no other products there exist.

"Ever since I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, my doctor, Dr. Vickers told me to drink three fingers of rum a day," said Hendrick. "It's been three years since I did that, and my count went down. So here's where I get my Mount Gay. But you know what? Ever since I had kids, I can't have my happy hour until my kids are all settled in, 'cause a lot of kids have to be transported." Hendrick and his wife, Kathy, have five adult children and raise their granddaughter, Sydney.

Hendrick said when he goes shopping he can't get in and out without running into at least one person he knows. "Cause you've got to imagine, I grew up here. I know a lot of people," said Hendrick.

"Well Chuck, you're here for the interview," I said. "What are you going to pick up while you're here?"

"Ahh, I don't know yet. I gotta check with Kathy. Probably nothing," he said, waving as he walked out of the store.

You just know that he'll be coming back a little later on.


Kay Stephens can be reached at