The owner of Buford’s Family Restaurant sold the business last week to a North Stonington man and his wife that the restaurant knew because the man delivered bread to the business for years.
Buford’s has been in Groton for about 50 years, and Karen Dole has owned it since 2007. She opened on Fort Hill Road this past fall, and said she intended to sell Buford's sometime after.
She knew John Waterman because he delivered Pepperidge Farm bread to the restaurant and was always friendly and outgoing, she said.
So she told him she wanted to sell. She figured, “he would be a good person to get the word out,” she said.
Then John Waterman and his wife, Michele Waterman, came back and said they wanted to buy the business. The paperwork was signed last week.
“I’m not sad,” Dole said. “Physically, it’s not fair to run two businesses because you can’t give 100 percent to two businesses. It’s not fair the employees. It’s not fair to the customer.”
She said the Watermans plan to keep Buford’s the same, and will keep the same staff.
“He’s just a great guy,” Dole said of Waterman, adding, “I feel like I’ll always be welcome there. I trained the staff, and they know how to run that business and I think they will. Basically, they just took me out of the equation.”
Dole had been using Buford’s to make prepared foods for the Bridge Market, but she said the market’s kitchen is nearly done, and will be ready to use for prepared meals and catering in four to six weeks.