AYER — On Friday morning, it was a done deal.
Ayer attorney Thomas Gibbons, the owner of the Law Office of Thomas Gibbons at 42 West Main St., has purchased the Grafax building at 21-23 Park St.
On June 1, Grafax will vacate their Park Street home and move its expanded copy-shop services a half a mile down Route 2A to across from Hannaford Supermarket. The building will remain occupied by its existing tenant, Heads Up Hair Salon.
Then, on Oct. 1, following some interior reconfiguration, the Grafax building will become the new home for Gibbons’ law firm.
Gibbons bought the 6,448-square-foot building, located atop a quarter acre in the Downtown Business District, for $345,000. The town assessed the property at $289,800.
While a preliminary foreclosure notice was published for the property last week, Friday’s purchase puts that bank action to rest.
Grafax owner Lauren Rue ran the copy shop with her father, the late David Rue, from 1991 until he retired in 1999. “That is when I took over the business and the building,” Lauren Rue said.
David Rue passed away in March after a struggle with cancer. Lauren Rue said she’s simplifying operations.
“Life is too short to be struggling, combined with the downturn of the economy,” said Rue. “I have decided to make life simpler.”
Grafax will move, but the offerings will remain the same. Copy services of all types will still be provided onsite, “with the same speedy, smiling faces” Rue said.
“Lauren and I had just worked together. She’d been there and her father before her so it’s been close to 20 years,” said Gibbons.
Gibbons had previously worked as an associate at the West Main Street law practice owned by Robert W. Gardner Jr. He purchased it in 2001when Gardner was appointed as a Worcester County District Court judge.
Gibbons’ wife, Karen Gibbons, is the law firm’s bookkeeper. The couple and their three children live in town.
Gibbons said “I have 25 years of practice left. I knew I needed to find a place. I wanted to find a building I could spend the next 25 years in. There’s no better place than the downtown business district.”
The three-story Grafax building dates back to 1900 but “you wouldn’t know by looking at it because of the 1980s additions,” said Gibbons.
Gibbons’ building abuts MART’s planned expanded Nashua River Rail Trail parking lot. On oct. 19, the selectmen approved a plan that requires the purchase of 5 contiguous parcels of Park Street land between the Grafax building headed outbound on Park Street after Sovereign Bank.
“We will be right on the Rail Trail. My staff is excited to walk on the trail in good weather. I could walk to work from home. This makes it all a little more convenient,” said Gibbons.