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March 28, 2024

3 months after 'Grinch storm' flooding, Gardiner's Hannaford reopens

The Hannaford supermarket in Gardiner is open again, more than three months after flood surge from a powerful Dec. 18 storm caused extensive damage and forced the store to shut its doors.

The Scarborough-based grocery chain reopened them Wednesday at 7 a.m. The store at 40 Maine Ave., steps from the Kennebec River, has been repaired, cleaned and outfitted with temporary cases and shelving. Hannaford said it will replace them with permanent fixtures in coming months.

Hannaford spokeswoman Caitlin Cortelyou told Mainebiz shoppers won't notice big differences from the store, pre-flood.

The supermarket continues to provide a variety of fresh food, household products, services and a pharmacy, and is open seven days a week. The most visible signs of the repair work, she said, may be fresh paint. But there are some changes.

"To assist with customer convenience, we did add nine self-check outs — going from two to 11," she said. "We will be offering a hot bar and fresh pizza in the near future."

In celebration of the reopening, Hannaford has donated $5,000 to two food pantries that serve the Gardiner community: Faith Food Pantry and Gardiner Food Pantry. Each will receive $2,500 in Hannaford gift cards to support hunger relief efforts.

“We extend our deepest gratitude to the entire Gardiner community for their patience, understanding and loyalty while we prepared to reopen our doors,” said Rob Meader, store manager, in a news release.

“Reopening the store this quickly would not have been possible without the unwavering support of the many associates and community members who contributed to the effort, including the tremendous partnership of the City of Gardiner. We very much look forward to welcoming customers back to the store.”

Gardiner City Manager Andrew Carlton said, “We at the City of Gardiner are incredibly excited to have Hannaford reopen its doors to service the residents of this great city. Hannaford plays an important role in the city and we are certainly elated to have Hannaford continue its long history here in the Gardiner downtown."

The December storm, which struck Maine one week before Christmas and was nicknamed the "Grinch storm," caused flooding, power outages and damage throughout much of the state. A TV station, News Center Maine, reported that floodwaters from the Kennebec River rose at least 1 foot above the entrance of the Hannaford store in Gardiner.

The store employed about 180 people before the flooding, and "only a handful" of them are not returning to their previous jobs, Cortelyou said.

Hannaford Supermarkets operates 187 stores across Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. The company employs nearly 30,000 people and is a subsidiary of Dutch retail conglomerate Ahold Delhaize.

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