Bubbe & Zadie of Kennebec County

Charlie's Motor Mall Doubles Gift for Healthy Futures

Augusta, ME

We gave what we could in the beginning. Business is good. This community is wonderful. We’re in a place where we can and want to do more. Ultimately, we increased our gift because this is important.

Charlie and Nancy Shuman

Charlie and Nancy Shuman have been lovingly cultivating unconventional families for years. With the help of their two beloved children, Stephen and Elissa, they’ve grown a reputation for treating employees and customers as more than familiar faces in need of a paycheck or transportation; they’ve provided significant annual support to United Way efforts that put backpacks and shoes on school-bound kids every August and food on holiday tables; they’ve even adopted sibling stray puppies, Spud and Precious, from the Waterville Area Humane Society. Look up “family” in the dictionary and you’re likely to see the beaming faces of Charlie and Nancy as definition A. 

Their most recent philanthropic gift is no exception. As early supporters of MaineGeneral’s New Regional Hospital & Thayer Comprehensive Outpatient Center, Charlie’s Motor Mall made a wonderful leadership pledge of $250,000 in June of 2011. In August of 2012, the “Family of Dealerships” owners transformed a typical Thursday into an extraordinary one by presenting their intention to nearly double their initial gift to name the Maternal/Child Health Wing in MaineGeneral’s New Regional Hospital. In so doing, Charlie and Nancy will be the “Bubbe and Zadie” for far more babies than their own five grandchildren.

Moved by the breadth of maternal/child services the new facility will offer, Nancy and Charlie recognized this as another opportunity to care for their family—immediate and otherwise.

“It’s about beginnings,”Nancy said. “Twelve-hundred new beginnings will happen here every year and each one deserves a healthy start. Every first tiny foot forward deserves the best.”

“We gave what we could in the beginning,” Charlie said. “Business is good. This community is wonderful. We’re in a place where we can and want to do more. Ultimately, we increased our gift because this is important.”

Charlie and Nancy met and married in Portland, Maine. In the early days of their relationship, Charlie spent much of his time on the road working for America Motors Jeep, covering a wide geographic area and numerous dealerships. Nancy worked at a hardware store as a jack-of-all-trades, tackling everything from weighing out nails, to accounting to inventory. They lived paycheck to paycheck for quite some time before realizing their current success.

Charlie worked for America Motors for 17 years before going into business for himself. He loved his experience there and developed a passion for auto sales while gathering insights about what dealerships did and did not do well. This knowledge, combined with his penchant for mechanics, helped him launch his own venture when the opportunity presented itself in 1986.

“I went into partnership with a colleague. We negotiated terms at a restaurant and ‘signed to’ on a paper napkin,” Charlie said. “This was back in the days before everything was complicated by legalities. Back then, a paper napkin was as good as a handshake which was as good as an official contract.”

And just like that, the seed for Charlie’s Motor Mall was planted. What started out as a modest Subaru dealership with 17 staff members is now a family of dealerships with nine bustling stores, three corporations, 250 engaged employees and a reputation for caring, customer service.

“We never dreamed we’d be this big,” Charlie said. “As opportunity came along, we seized it. We’ve expanded every year since we started.”

The secrets to their success, he says, are simple. “It’s all about the customer experience which is largely dependent on the quality and contentment of the people who work for you,” he said. “We don’t allow for customer inconvenience and we’re good to our employees. They’re like family; many of them have been with us for 15, 20, 25 years and that longevity contributes to our success.”

Charlie sees MaineGeneral’s efforts in keeping with these same principles. “We are supportive of efforts that take care of the community that’s taken such great care of us. We want the best for our family, be it our children, grandchildren, employees, customers. They all deserve world-class care and that’s what MaineGeneral is creating with this new facility—a health care experience that puts the patient and their families first.”

To learn about how Charlie and Nancy are honoring their grandchildren at the New Regional Hospital, click here!



Family is everything to Charlie and Nancy and they want their grandchildren to know they invested in their healthy futures from the beginning. Each of their five beloved grandbabies will have a granite wall tile engraved in their honor and featured in the network of healing gardens that encompasses the New Regional Hospital. On opening day they’ll be able to find their names in the landscaping; in a few years they’ll do the same with a greater understanding of the gift their grandparents gave. And decades from now they may be back with their own children to share the legacy of love their grandparents so successfully built in the Kennebec Valley.


To learn more about how you can honor a loved one with a paver or wall tile.


MaineGeneral Health
Office of Philanthropy

Physical location
35 Medical Center Parkway
Augusta, ME  04330-8067
Phone: (207) 626-1809

Mail only
PO Box 828
Waterville, ME  04903

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