Before the bright lights and wide aisles of supermarkets, neighborhood grocers were a way of life.
For one Mainer, growing up in the Sand Hill Neighborhood in Augusta meant dozens of Franco-American grocers, and a lively trade of family businesses.
“I knew the owners, their families and they knew me and my family,” says Norm Rodrigue, creator of the documentary Les Magasins (The Stores). “I thought it would be interesting to document what life was like in the neighborhood grocery store business before the advent of supermarkets.”
To create his 47-minute documentary, Rodrigue says he interviewed five former grocery store families, employees and customers. It took about a year and a half to compile photos, interviews and footage. He offers the video by request, for $12, including postage.
“The video, I hope, captures the feeling of a time and place long past, and one that some of us might welcome back,” he says.
A 7-minute trailer is available from Rodrigue’s YouTube page, with information on ordering the full-length version.