By Edith Tucker
The Berlin Sun
GORHAM — In a little over a year, Christina “Tina” and Allen Binette have signed up 31 local product vendors to the Gorham Corner Market at the corner of Routes 16 and 2.
“We have local area owners providing local products from certified kitchens, vegetable gardens and workshops, such as Scarinza’s Sugarhouse, Mount Cabot Maple, Six Acre Farm, Stonefish Bakery, Saladino’s, Sister’s Candy Shop, Corrigan Screen Printing and Swain Family and Middle Intervale Farms,” Allen explained.
“When we bought the place from 35-plus-year-owner Moe Champoux, Tina was going to run it day-to-day, and I planned to stay on as general sales manager at Berlin City, where worked for 24 years, six days a week. I was only going to help out when needed.
“Now we’ve reversed roles: Tina accepted the post of elementary principal at the Ed Fenn School, so she’s the one working outside the store, and I’m the one who’s in charge day-to-day,” Allen said. “Tina has a really great marketing eye, and she checks out the inventory on Sunday nights and places our vendor orders.
“We’ve added a variety of specialty cheeses, wines, and high-end crackers, and we built a brand-new 10- by 12-foot kitchen where we prepare seasonal food: pizza, hot dogs, cold sandwiches and chicken fingers; plus soup, American chop suey and Chinese pie (corn, ground beef and potatoes).
“We plan to add an office this coming year plus space for more coolers and freezers,” he said. “We’ve replaced the roof and brightened the color scheme. We’re aiming to carry a wide variety of products and not just what all the name-brand chains do: beer, cigarettes and gasoline.”
“We’ve added a new roof and plan to install new lighting."
Allen pointed out that it’s truly taken a village to make the Gorham Corner Market such a great success.
“Ron Dagesse, who now owns both the Mount Madison Inn & Suites and the Top Notch Inn on Main Street, regularly sends business our way,” he said. “We have some 20 businesses here in town that are vacant; we very much want to succeed collectively.
“Friday, Aug. 5, the first day of the ATV Festival, was the biggest day since we bought the store on July 15, 2016,” Allen continued. “We’re pretty excited; even though it’s a lot of work.
“Our sons — Tyler a senior at Keene State, and Brady, a junior — are working here this summer,” he said. “We going to install a new floor, new shelving, new lighting and continue to improve the Market’s appearance. We want to thank everyone for all their support.”
The couple will celebrate their 25th anniversary this coming year.
As part of this very busy year, they sold their houses in both Randolph and Maidstone, Vt., and bought Tina’s mother’s house in Gorham, making it possible for this new principal to walk to work. She is already making plans to earn a doctorate in education.