New Hannaford stores open, adding nearly 30 jobs to St. John Valley

2 months ago

FORT KENT, Maine – New Hannaford stores in Fort Kent and Madawaska saw a steady stream of customers after opening on Friday. The stores are replacing two Paradis Shop ‘N Save stores, and will add between 25 and 30 new jobs to the region.

The stores were closed on Monday afternoon and for the entirety of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week as officials and employees repurposed the two businesses and transitioned them to the Hannaford brand.

David Richard, Hannaford Director of Operations for District 1, said the days leading up to the opening were busy, and included a great deal of work. District 1 encompasses much of Maine, including Aroostook stores and extending from Bangor to Bar Harbor. 

And with the acquisition of the Madawaska and Fort Kent supermarkets, the district now includes 17 stores.

“We continued training with some of the associates we had started prior to Monday,” he said. “We did a lot of training. We also did some painting, some touch up, we changed some of the messaging throughout the store, and then we changed some of the layouts.”

The produce departments in particular saw a major renovation, with new tables, fixtures, and a new assortment of goods.

FORT KENT, Maine — April 12, 2024 — Several interior changes were made as the former Fort Kent and Madawaska Paradis Shop ‘N Save stores transitioned to Hannaford this week. Hannaford officially opened in Fort Kent and Madawaska on April 12. (Chris Bouchard | St. John Valley Times)

“We had a busy three days,” he said.

The Fort Kent store now employs roughly 80, and the Madawaska store employs about 60. Richard said the Fort Kent store hired about five to ten new employees and Madawaska added almost 20 in addition to those that were employed under the Paradis name.

He added that they hope to bring even more jobs to the area by hiring more associates at the two stores.

He said nearly all existing employees chose to remain as the Paradis store switched to Hannaford. Richard said that only a small number of Paradis employees chose not to remain after the transition.

“Our goal going into these acquisitions is to retain all of the associates,” he said. “And we, over the last few months, have continued to hire associates.”

One thing that St. John Valley residents will find, Richard said, is that many of the same faces are working as before. Many of Hannaford’s store brand products, such as Taste of Inspiration and Nature’s Promise, were already distributed to the stores when they operated under the Paradis name.

“While we’ve long been connected to Fort Kent and Madawaska, we are excited to officially become a part of these outstanding communities,” Hannaford Vice President of Retail Operations Todd Bullen said in an April 12 press release.

Hannaford first announced its decision to acquire the two St. John Valley Paradis stores in January. At the time, Denis Paradis, company president and manager, said that Hannaford contacted him about acquiring the stores and that he felt it would be a good fit for the community. 

The Paradis family first opened Paradis Supermarket in Fort Kent in 1948, and has continued to own grocery stores throughout the region for three generations.

Fort Kent Town Manager Suzie Paradis, who is married to Denis Paradis, said that Hannaford’s acquisition and opening in Fort Kent is “bittersweet,” as it will mark the end of the family’s business. But she said she welcomes Hannaford and that their arrival will bring benefits to the community.

“It will be a nice change,” she said. “There will be rewards programs, and Hannaford can bring different opportunities that the independent stores could not.”

The business, in celebration of their opening, will donate $5,000 to the Aroostook County Action Program in celebration of their grand opening.

Looking ahead, Richard said they plan to continue making tweaks and improvements to the two stores.

“I think we’ll continue to try to grow in regards to our associate count,” he said. “I do think we have plans in the future to upgrade our front end, the layout, and self checkouts. We’ll continue to evaluate the store and its operation, and go from there.”