All sales are final: Brookline market shuts after 20 years

BROOKLINE – After more than 20 years, Lucien and Dianne Duval are closing Ladd’s convenience store on Route 13 South.

Today is the last day the store will be open.

The decision to close, Lucien said, came in the wake of dwindling sales and competition from supermarkets, now open during the hours once reserved for the corner markets: early morning and late evening.

“When we first got into the business, we were making $1,500 to $2,000 a day. Now, we’re lucky if it’s $2,000 a week,” Lucien said.

But it wasn’t just the competition that took a bite out of business.

At the same time, the bread and milk companies that once accommodated the mom-and-pop store began requiring the Duvals to place larger orders and to absorb the cost of products that did not sell before their expiration dates.

“Back in 1988, if the gallons were out of date, they’d give us credit. Now, they don’t,” Lucien said.

He said the same thing happened with the bread companies, who stopped making deliveries without giving the shopkeepers notice.

“Luckily, when I made the decision to close and notified the vendors, the beer company, Coke and Pepsi all said they’d take back the full cases,” the store owner added.

Lucien, who on Monday starts a new job working for his brother-in-law’s landscaping business, said he and his wife will take home the leftover cans of soup, boxes of laundry detergent, cake mixes, bottles of aspirin, and other items left on the shelves on Saturday night after Ladd’s closes for the last time.

The couple plans to donate unsold candy to the Milford Athletic Association, inventory for the group’s concession stand this season.

On Sunday, Lucien said, he plans to sleep in, probably until 7 a.m.

Later, he and Dianne, who for years have ordered take-out from the Union Grille in Milford on Sunday mornings, will eat at the restaurant.

On Friday, however, these plans seemed distant, and unreal.

“I don’t know if it’s really hit me yet,” Lucien said. “I’ll wake up Sunday and I don’t have to come in. We can go out to breakfast, go to her mother’s
. . . clean up here.”