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This week’s edition!

Out and About with Rachel Morin: Cole Farms in Gray closing article

Photo and story by Rachel Morin

I joined hundreds of customers going to Cole Farms in Gray for a nostalgic and sad farewell to a family restaurant that has been a landmark in Gray since it opened nearly 70 years ago. 

 It was Saturday, January 11, and the place was packed when we arrived for breakfast.   Owner Brad Pollard was 10 years old when his family opened the restaurant, and this is the only home he knows.  He grew up in the business. He now mingled with his customers arriving at the restaurant.  He approved this article but shied away from a photo.

Sad news of the closing came last month when Brad sent a letter informing customers, friends and the public that Cole Farms would be closing Monday, January 13. It was a hard and painful decision, but a necessary one, due to rising costs and the inability to continue the excellent service and delicious home cooked comfort meals he had provided all these years.  Gratitude and appreciation were expressed in the letter to his faithful customers and the public for the successful thriving business Cole Farms had been.   

My long association with Cole Farms goes back many years and has been full of enjoying the comfort food meals and home baked pastries.  Who could forget their home baked pies?  My husband (Gerry) and I would travel the old Lewiston Road to Cole Farms often from our Auburn home. 

These trips increased when my adult children moved to Portland. When the grandchildren started coming, the trips increased dramatically.  Gerry and I would still travel the old Lewiston Road to Portland, enjoying the peaceful, picturesque country drive, with slower paced two lane driving and avoiding the faster traffic on the turnpike.  We would stop at Cole Farms on the way to Portland and stop again on our way back to Auburn. 

After Gerry died, I still travelled the same route to Portland, stopping at Cole Farms on the way, and again on the way back to Auburn.  It’s a sweet memory I cherish of my husband and me visiting Cole Farms and welcoming our growing family of grandchildren in Portland.

As I walked around Cole Farms on this Saturday morning, I marveled at all the customers eager to talk amongst themselves and to me about their fond memories of Cole Farms, and what they were going to miss.  It seemed therapeutic for them to talk about their sadness and share it with friends who felt the same way.  It was the same sentiments among all these people, some from Gray, and many from surrounding towns–they all felt the   same nostalgia, similar memories and how much the restaurant meant to them and what they would miss.

Many old-time patrons also expressed the friendly and homey atmosphere they felt at Cole Farms, with their fellow customers, as well as with the staff.   Some had formed friendships over the years.  No one was a stranger, and all were made to feel welcomed.  Customers noticed I was walking around with my camera taking pictures.  They were pleased to pose for pictures for the story in Twin City Times.

And so, at the end of the long morning visit, we all said a sad goodbye to Cole Farms, a landmark in Gray.

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