Amherst convenience store falls victim to vaping ban

  • Amherst Center Store on Triangle Street. —Scott Merzbach

  • Amherst Center Store on Triangle Street. SUBMITTED PHOTO

  • Amherst Center Store on Triangle Street announces closing. —Submitted Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 12/30/2019 11:30:44 PM
Modified: 12/30/2019 11:30:29 PM

AMHERST — A convenience store in downtown Amherst that depended on selling vaping tobacco products to turn a profit has closed.

The Amherst Center Store, 259 Triangle St., owned by Glenn Hamill of Easthampton since August 2015, shuttered after business on Friday, with remaining products being moved out of the business on Monday morning.

Hamill said his business, also known as Amherst Market, was a victim of the extended vaping ban imposed by Gov. Charlie Baker that ran from late September to Dec. 11.

“Not being able to sell Juul pods, that took the life out of me,” Hamill said.

Though offering items found in convenience stores, from milk, snacks, sandwiches and lottery tickets to beer and wine, Hamill said the e-cigarettes brought in $9,000 a month and became the backbone of the business, which is the closest convenience store to the University of Massachusetts campus.

Hamill said there was more than one reason for his decision to close, but even with the statewide ban lifted, new restrictions from the town’s Board of Health would limit Juul pods and e-cigarettes, as well as mint and menthol flavored products, to the two 21-and-over stores in town, Exscape on North Pleasant Street in downtown and Wildside on College Street in East Amherst village center.

The space occupied by Amherst Center Store has been a convenience store for many years, previously Mini Food Basket and DB Mart. But Hamill in late 2015 became the first to be able to sell alcohol when he was narrowly granted an off-premise wine and malt license by the then Select Board, despite a petition signed by 46 residents against the move.

Jeff Brown of Amherst, the landlord who owns the complex that also includes Primo Pizza 2 and a Greenfield Co-operative Bank branch, said he appreciated having Hamill, who also owns the Sunderland Corner Store in Sunderland center.

“I was delighted to have him as my tenant,” Brown said.

Brown already has “for rent” signs in the window and notes that it is a turnkey operation for anyone looking to run a convenience store, with coolers and a deli counter remaining.

Being at the north end of downtown, the site also includes free customer parking to the rear and side, as well as several parallel parking spaces along Triangle Street.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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