Clean, bright, and once again well-stocked, the former Wing’s Market on the corner of Rt 113 and Rt 5 in East Thetford is now Baker Grocery Store. The new owners, who also own Baker’s General Store in Post Mills, have chosen to link the two stores with a shared name.
Upon entering, the first thing one notices is the handsome butcher block counter that has replaced the former checkout lanes. Bright LED lighting overhead reveals a number of changes, including a notable expansion of the cold beverage offerings near the front of the store and conversion of one entire wall of refrigeration to cold beer.
A complete rearrangement of the grocery categories makes for a new shopping experience for long-time customers, encouraging one to notice all of the new items mixed in with old favorites. The aisles are free of clutter, making them seem wider, and organization of products is logical and easy to navigate.
The former refrigerated produce section now shares its minimal space with additional dairy items, and no obvious changes have been made to the meat department. Packaged deli items are the only deli choices currently, but the new owners plan to reopen the deli service counter in a few months. Plans to paint the interior are being held for warmer weather.
The availability of freezer items continues to be hampered by old equipment with limitations, a challenge the owners will need to meet in the future. Overall, however, the store feels newly energized with fully stocked shelves and a cheerful atmosphere.
The new owners, Ankit Patel and family, have a principal business address in Plainfield, NH, and a mailing address in Bow, NH. In addition to Baker’s General Store in Post Mills, they also own markets in New Hampshire — Patterson Grocery & Deli in Orford, Four Corners General Store in Piermont, Plainfield Country Store in Plainfield, Tenney Mountain Country Store in Plymouth, Ralph’s Supermarket in Charlestown — and Discount II Plus Deli in Albany, New York. Both Thetford stores are managed by Rocky, a cousin of the owners, who relocated to Vermont eight months ago.
Susan, who works as a cashier, enthused about the new owners: “They are great people and wonderful to work for.” She had been concerned about the survival of the old Wing’s Market and feared it might be closing for good, especially after the closing of the bridge between Thetford and Lyme. She noted that the store has been there all her life and it “would be a shame if it went away.”
Instead, the store is experiencing a rebirth, with Christmas music playing in the background. And, one additional benefit of the new ownership: the store is now open on Sundays!
Photo credit: Li Shen