Cumberland service station, a town hangout, for sale

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CUMBERLAND — The Shell service station at 296 Main St., a longtime fixture and gathering place in town, is for sale or lease.

It’s one of two C.N. Brown Co. gas stations available for purchase or lease in town; the former Big Apple convenience store at 174 Main St. is also on the market.

While the former Big Apple store still has a tenant, the Shell station is vacant following the recent retirement of its longtime operator, Wayne Thompson of North Yarmouth.

The station was built in 1972 and has an assessed value of about $303,000, according to information on Cumberland’s website. C.N. Brown is asking $375,000; interested buyers can email Russell Cloutier at, and prospective lessees can email Richard Young at

Cloutier and Young are also the company contacts for inquiries about the convenience store property, which has an asking price of $325,000.

C.N. Brown has no preference whether the properties are sold or leased, Cloutier, the company’s real estate operations manager said July 9.

Both properties have grandfathered nonconforming uses under town zoning.

Town Manager Bill Shane said the grandfathering lasts for two years after a use is discontinued. So if the Shell station vacancy lasts more than two years, the property will revert to the uses that are allowed in the underlying zone.

While continuing the existing uses would be relatively simply, changing the use would trigger a site plan review by the Planning Board, Shane said.

The Shell station is in the Village Center District, which provides more flexibility for a different use. Other allowed uses in the zone include residences, business and professional offices, retail stores up to 2,000 square feet, markets up to 2,500 square feet, cafes, health and fitness studios, and day-care centers.

But Shane is among those who would like to see the station operate as it has.

“The town is very hopeful that somebody will come in and try to continue the operation as Wayne did in the past,” he said. “… It’s a unique operation; it has kind of disappeared from the local community landscape in most towns.”

Shane said he has informed C.N. Brown that the town could help a new owner or operator secure a small business loan through the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

The auto repair service is unique in town, Shane noted. Plus, the station has been a spot for residents to gather and chat.

“It’s where you got all your town news from,” the manager said with a chuckle.

The Big Apple store is in a more restrictive Rural Residential 1 zone, Shane said. Besides housing, other allowable uses include private schools, riding stables, kennels and veterinary offices.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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The Shell service station at 296 Main St., owned by C.N. Brown Co., is for sale or lease.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.