BLUE HILL — Chuck and Belinda Lawrence have sold their gas stations, convenience stores and car washes to Energy North, a Lawrence, Mass.-based company.
Energy North purchased the Tradewinds locations in Ellsworth, Orland, Veazie, Hampden, Brewer, Old Town, Eddington and Bangor.
The Lawrences will continue to operate their Tradewinds grocery stores in Blue Hill and Calais, Chuck Lawrence said Tuesday.
Lawrence said he’d built the convenience stores thinking of his sons, but two are pursuing other careers.
“Two of my sons didn’t want to be in the business and I really built the convenience stores for them,” he said. “My roots are in a supermarket, and that’s what I want to get back to.”
“Convenience stores are challenging,” the businessman said. “You need to have a lot of them [to compete]. I either needed to increase my stores tremendously or sell. I made the decision to sell the stores.”
Energy North intends to continue the Lawrence family’s Pumped Up to Fight Cancer initiative by donating a penny per gallon of gasoline for cancer treatment.
As of 2019, the Lawrence Family Foundation had donated $1 million through the effort.
The couple wrote a letter to the community about their decision to sell the convenience stores.
“We are very proud of what Tradewinds has become and we are very appreciative of the communities where we have done business,” Lawrence stated. “Belinda and I are confident that we have chosen the right company that is also a family-owned business. [Owners] Jeff Black and his family have many resources that will benefit our growing company and in return will benefit the communities where we do business. Energy North has a lot of the same visions of being a good community citizen and we feel they will continue strong community support to ensure we have healthy communities.”
“We will be around and will always have a special connection with many of you since we have worked closely and created something very rare and special,” he said. “Belinda and I are very committed to supporting all the organizations as we have in the past from our foundation. We want you all to know how much we appreciate living and doing business in our great state and want the very best for our Downeast Maine communities. We will continue to own the Blue Hill and Calais supermarkets and live in Holden, where we have lived the past 30 years.”
Energy North Group operates 65 gas stations, convenience stores, car washes and food service locations in New England and upstate New York. Its Haffner’s Energy Group operates the stations and distributes heating oil and propane and offers heating and cooling services.
Energy North intends to keep the Tradewinds brand.
“They feel they can be more competitive with a Tradewinds brand than a national brand,” Lawrence said.