In the coming days, customers will still be able to buy both lunch staples, but Sam Spicer no longer will be the guy in charge of making sure the Convenient Food Mart on East River Street is stocked to perfection.
Spicer, 38, is selling the business his father, the late James Spicer, started in 1969.
While he will be there through the transition, Spicer said it’s time for him to move on.
“I think it’s the right move,” he said.
Spicer said there are a lot of reasons why now is the right time for him to sell. The economy, life circumstances and a desire to spend more time with his family top his list.
Having four sons — all under the age of 11 — tops the list.
“You know, I really want to watch my kids grow up and be a part of my family while they are still little,” he said. “You always hear that you should appreciate the time when your kids are kids because you will never get that back again. I don’t want to be that guy who, by the time my kids are grown, I realize I have worked my way through their lives.”
The sale of the business will be final by the end of the week, Spicer said. He will identify the new owners at that time, but said residents and employees should know he is selling the business to a local family.
“That makes me feel good because I know it will stay a good, neighborhood family store,” he said. “I think the whole neighborhood will be happy with the new owner.”
Currently, about 35 employees, mostly part-time, work at the Convenient Food Mart. Spicer said he is confident the new owner will keep the employees.
The business has been a part of Spicer family history for a long time.
He bought the business 13 years ago from his mother, Sue Spicer, who started it in 1969 with her husband, James.
And, for years prior to taking over the business, Sam Spicer worked with his parents at the store. He saw his role grow when he stepped up to help his mother while his father battled a terminal illness. James Spicer died in 1994.
Not long after buying it, Spicer built a five-unit plaza attached to the store that houses a Subway sandwich shop and Sambino’s Pizza. He said it was his father who laid the groundwork for that expansion in the years before his death.
And the younger Spicer said he was proud to have continued what James Spicer started when he took a chance on opening a Convenient after years of running a smaller family-owned delicatessen.
“He opened the business at a time when people were just starting to get into the convenient store business,” Spicer said of his father. “He poured his heart into this work and really worked hard to grow it.
“Naturally, my mom has a lot of sentimental attachment to the place because she has been here through it all, but I think she understands this is the right move for me.”
After a brief period of transition, Spicer said he will begin working part-time at the Lorain County Juvenile Detention Home. While he is selling the store, he said the shopping plaza will remain in the Spicer family.
“In the end, I know I have done my best, so I think my father would be proud of me,” he said.
“Owning your own business is rewarding and nice, if you can do it. It takes a lot of work and requires you to be in the right place in your life to make it work. I don’t think I’m there anymore.”
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.