Kilburn's celebrates its 25th

MANCHESTER - Kilburn's Convenience store celebrated a milestone last week, marking its 25th year in business.

The store, located on Depot Street near the corner of Richville Road, held a day-long celebration on June 26 for anyone who wished to step into the store, complete with free coffee and assorted drinks, fries, chips, and giveaways.

"We had a huge turnout," said Cynthia Kilburn, a co-owner with her husband, Doug Kilburn, of the convenience store. "Some people came that we had not seen in a while, some were new, and there were our regulars. Even relatives of the original owners came in."

They had some drawings for larger prizes, such as coolers and golf shirts, but some patrons were given prizes simply for walking through the door. Before owning the convenience store, Kilburn explained that they were renting space across the street as an autoparts store. Then they decided to move their business into their own building by acquiring the building where Sendra's Market had occupied. They weren't sure initially if they wanted to continue with a grocery store and an autoparts business, but after awhile the grocery side of things grew on them, she said.

"We found that it was a lot of fun," she said, "and we decided to keep the grocery store, so we made room."

Kilburn expressed the importance of their customers to their success, equating them to a large extended family.

"I have a statistic for you," she said. "In order to be a good customer, you should be in three times a week. Ours are in three times a day."

Kilburn said that because they offer coffee, sandwiches, beer, and an assortment of convenience needs, they are able to cater to customers at all hours of the day; they will see people come in for coffee in the morning, a sandwich for lunch, and grab some beer and sodas on their way home at night.

"People who come in become a large part of our life," Kilburn said. "And our staff has been around a while, so they know all our customers by name." In addition to the day-long service and the family atmosphere, Kilburn's sports a big, red sign in their front window that reads, "The most lottery winners are here!"

"It's because we sell more tickets, so we have more winners," Kilburn explained.

They have seen all kinds of winners, in all different denominations.

"Our biggest instant was a local who won $200,000," she said. "And in the past week we had a $5,000 winner."

Kilburn said that during their celebration, she was asked many times what their plans for the next 25 years were. She said that she didn't know what the next quarter-century would bring, but she knew that they have no plans to leave or retire anytime soon.

"It's hard to believe it has been 25 years," she said. "It's a real mom and pop store, one of the last ones left."


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