SPENCER – A bright, new CVS store on Main Street stands as a reminder that Spencer is “a place to invest in,” Town Administrator Jeff Bridges said Wednesday (Nov. 1, 2023) after a ribbon was cut officially opening the business.
Inside, the brand new store is gleaming with wide aisles and more merchandise than the prior location, a stone’s throw away near Price Chopper, could ever have stocked.
The new store is a prototype for the company, CVS District Leader Michael Gagnon said.
“If any of you have shopped at our old location, this is a big upgrade,” Gagnon told local and state officials who gathered for the grand opening.
Spencer Selectmen who attended were impressed by the store. Selectman Anthony Pepe,a member of the town’s economic development committee, said he was pleased with the partnership between the town and CVS.
Pepe said the goal was for the new building, which stands at the site of the Massasoit Hotel that burned in 1982, to blend in downtown.
“This is one of the first steps to revitalize this area,” he said.
Bridges pointed out that for those living in or near downtown, the CVS is part of the walkable community. Within a few blocks, pedestrians can get groceries, dine at restaurants, buy gifts including flowers and jewelry and pick up prescriptions. With senior housing at both Howe Village and Senior Living at Prouty a short distance away, a larger CVS with more offerings is a welcome addition and can help boost the local economy.
Some residents were happy to see that while the store is new and different, the staff are not. Store manager Sam Lasorsa said shoppers were glad to see familiar faces from the former location. Many of the employees are local folks including operations manager Jessica Bermingham who, like Lasorsa, hails from Charlton.
Flanked by Selectmen Pepe, Gary Woodbury, Ralph Hicks, chairman John Howard and State Rep. Peter Durant, R-Spencer, Fire Chief Robert Parsons and Bridges, Lasorsa cut the gold ribbon with a pair of giant scissors officially opening the store, although it’s already been welcoming customers.
Several town employees gathered for the event.
Gagnon said it’s been 5 years since CVS began the quest for a new location in town after operating in what was once Beacon Pharmacy.
Throughout the process, there was some controversy but eventually, the project was approved.
Durant, who grew up in Spencer, presented a citation from the state House of Representatives on behalf of himself and Rep. Donald Berthiaume, R-Spencer, said the store represents, “a community effort.
“Fun fact,” he said. “This is where the Hotel Massasoit stood; I worked there in high school.”
In fact, the site has a rich history. Before the hotel’s construction, it was home to Jenk’s Tavern, where President George Washington once stayed overnight in 1789. The tavern tragically burned down in 1870.