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Landmark Clam Haven drive-in for sale in Derry

Union Leader Correspondent

October 10. 2018 1:40PM

DERRY — A local landmark drive-in food stand could be yours if you've got the clams.

Rick Metts, 60, longtime owner of Clam Haven, put the Rockingham Road business on the market about a week ago, according to Tinkham Realty agent Jerry Hersch. 

"The gentleman (Metts) has been there for 32 years and he's looking to retire," Hersch said.

The seasonal business closed after Labor Day weekend and a "Business for Sale" sign appeared about a week ago.

Metts, a "born-and-raised" Derry resident, is selling the business for $529,000, according to the property listing. The buyer would be required to sign a five-year lease with a five-year option to renew for the 1,171-foot-property.

To be considered, potential buyers must have prior restaurant experience, the ad says. "This is a turnkey operation ready for a smooth transition to a new owner. The restaurant is poised for many years of good profitability," it says.

Metts has been in the restaurant business for 45 years.

"This year seemed like the best time to pull the trigger," he said.

Selling the business will free up time to travel and spend time with five grandchildren, he said. 

"It would be nice to do things in the summertime," he said. Clam Haven is typically open from St. Patrick's Day to Labor Day weekend.

Gilbert "Gilly" Michaud started the business in 1954, according to Metts. 

"Mr. Michaud sold the business to his daughter in 1973, I believe," he said. 

The daughter, named Sandra Boutin, ran the business with her husband Arthur for 13 years and sold it to Metts and his business partner in 1986. Metts bought out his partner in 2004. 

Since the start, Clam Haven has been known for "good food at good prices" and a family-friendly atmosphere. Metts said he likes to think his clams and scallops are some of the best in New England, and they sell more than 20,000 hotdogs in a season.

In the past 10 to 15 years, the business started closing for the season closer to Labor Day. It used to be open as late as Columbus Day. 

"Clam Haven is a beach place without the beach," Metts said.

Metts said he's had grandkids work at the drive-in restaurant for up to six seasons and would hate to see the business go away.

"I'd like to have it stay the way it is," he said.

Derry Economic Development Director Beverly Donovan feels the same. She said Rick and Sue Metts have been wonderful business owners and active in the community. 

"I do hope to see the business continue under new management, as Clam Haven is a Derry landmark and no summer would be complete without a trip to the iconic stand," Donovan said.

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