FALMOUTH, Maine — Town Landing Market, a Foreside fixture since the late 1800s, will be sold next week after almost 20 years under the same owner.
Dan Groves, who has owned the Foreside Road store since 1996, is selling it to MaryBeth Bachman, a Falmouth High School nurse. The sale is expected to close March 31.
“[Bachman] really wanted it, and the time was right,” Groves said Tuesday.
Groves and his wife Pam, who met while they both worked at the store 26 years ago, said selling the store will give them more time to spend with their grandchildren.
Groves said he was reluctant to sell the store and wasn’t interested when Bachman first approached him a year and a half ago. He said he wanted to wait until he fully retired, because he is also a lobsterman, but his wife finally convinced him to sell.
Bachman said she doesn’t want to discuss the purchase until it is finalized next week.
Groves said he feels comfortable selling to Bachman because she told him she doesn’t want to change the store. He said customers shouldn’t notice a difference after the sale closes.
Maintaining the store’s vintage appearance is important, Groves said, because it provides character.
“It’s very unique and one-of-a-kind,” he said. “We keep it old. We like the antique touches.”
Although Groves said he will still frequent the store, the thing he will miss most about owning it will be the customers and employees.
“It’s been a good run,” he said. “We’ve met a lot of nice people.”
Groves said he hopes having a new owner won’t make people hesitant about coming to the store. Pam Groves agreed, but said some change is to be expected.
“I hope that people still come here, but fresh faces and new ideas are always good,” she said.
Groves said he believes the market opened around 1880. It has been featured in commercials for Coca-Cola and Oakhurst Dairy, and has been in an L.L. Bean catalogue. In September 2004 it was featured on the cover of Down East magazine.
Groves acquired the store after the death of the previous owner, Stu Ryder. Ryder had been the manager of Martin’s Shop ‘n Save, a Hannaford Bros. supermarket on U.S. Route 1 that later became Regal Cinemas, which no longer exists.
When Ryder bought Town Landing Market, he hired former Hannaford employees, including Groves.
Pam Groves said her husband and Ryder turned the store into what people know today.
“It was just a store,” she said, “but they gave it personality.”
Groves, who started working at the store in 1981, said he can’t believe how much time has passed.
“Time flies; 34 years doesn’t seem that long ago,” he said.
Groves said the store has become part of his family, especially because most of his family has worked there at some point. Groves’ mother and father-in-law each worked there, as did the Groves’ three daughters. Various extended family members have worked there, too, along with many local teenagers.
Groves, who supplies the store with lobsters, said he will continue to do so after he sells the store. For the most part, though, Groves and his wife said they will now be relaxing.
“We’ll miss it,” Pam said, “but on the other hand, things can’t last forever.”