CHINA

April 4, 2011

New owner of Tobey's Market to add grocery lines

BY MARY GROW, Correspondent

CHINA -- Since it opened almost 33 years ago, Tobey's Market on Route 3 has been owned by just three families.

click image to enlarge

Pete Haskell has purchased Tobey's General Store in South China.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

On March 30, the fourth set of owners took possession of the general store at the intersection of Route 3 and Branch Mills Road: Thadius Barber has sold the business to M. A. "Pete" Haskell.

Haskell said his wife, Dawn; daughter Heather and grandsons Cam and Jack will help run the store, while sons Jesse, Kevin and Darrell concentrate on the family's other businesses -- farming, trucking and fuel.

Barry McCormick, of Unity, is managing Tobey's. He's a 20-year veteran of the retail business and a longtime Barber family friend.

McCormick sold his stores on School Street in Unity and Main Street in Fairfield before he retired two years ago. When he learned that Barber, whom he watched grow up and take over his parents' businesses, was selling Tobey's, he came out of retirement to help with the transition.

McCormick said that, to make Tobey's more like the country store it once was, he and Haskell will add grocery lines, including organic food and milk and more produce.

They will "absolutely" buy locally and work with area farmers, he said.

Other planned changes include a redesign of the front of the store to make the checkouts more convenient.

But, McCormick quickly added, "I'm not meaning to say Thad didn't do a good job, because he did. New owners, there's always changes."

Before Haskell learned Tobey's was for sale, he planned to buy the former Frontier Village market farther west on Route 3. With the necessary town permit, he plans to move the M. A. Haskell Fuel Company office to Tobey's, as he had planned to move it to Frontier Village.

Kempton Tobey built the original Tobey's Market, which opened in November 1978, according to his son Robin. Kempton Tobey still lives just down the street from the store.

The Tobeys found running their construction business plus the store too challenging, Robin Tobey said. In June 1982, they sold the store to Jack and Sally Skillings, who knew it from their years as summer residents in adjacent Palermo.

Robin Tobey said the Skillings sold to Tom and Rita Barber of China in 1992. When Tom Barber retired, his son, Thad, took over.

Robin Tobey said his father is pleased that another local family will succeed the Barbers.

Thad Barber owns two other convenience stores on Route 3, Fieldstone Quick Stop and The Market and Deli. McCormick said Barber plans to keep those businesses, and confirmed local rumors of impending changes, which he declined to detail last week.

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at KJonline.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)