BROOKSVILLE, Maine — He’s managed $5 billion on Wall Street and worked with Oscar winners Rami Malek and Brie Larson, but when he’s in Maine, Frederick W. Green focuses on Buck’s Harbor Market.
An independent film producer and former investment adviser who has lived seasonally in Brooksville for almost 30 years, Green has owned the market and adjoining Buck’s Restaurant since 2006. He was in town on Friday for a two-day visit checking on how, for the first time in six years, Buck’s Harbor Market will be open year-round — and sell pizzas — to help Blue Hill peninsula residents get through the winter.
“It’s a real ask, because we’re a small community market. People could go to Tradewinds [in Blue Hill] and buy the same items cheaper,” the 73-year-old Green said. “So I realize that we’re asking them to make an economic sacrifice.”
The store’s general manager, Jonathan Chase, finds linkage between Green’s store ownership and his filmmaking career. With the store, Green had the funding and assembled the talent needed to create a successful production.
“He is a guy that likes to think outside the box and make things happen. He and his wife, Patty, say that they derive some psychic income out of giving back to the community,” said Chase, who is also a chef. “The previous owners were about to retire or go away and he got a group of investors together to put a deal together to keep it [the market] going.”
‘The beating heart of Brooksville’
Buck’s Harbor Market is among a diminishing number of small general stores in Brooklin, Brooksville, Cape Rosier, Penobscot and South Brooksville. Businesses very much a part of rural Maine life, they suffer from rising costs, dwindling population and heavy competition from bigger, regional stores, said Jo Andrews, Buck’s Market assistant manager.
“It’s still a gathering place. Everybody gets together, we have what we call the breakfast crew in the morning that show up religiously, and in summer time, the little cafe here is absolutely packed to capacity,” Andrews said. “It’s kind of like ‘Cheers.’ All the locals come in, they know your name.”
Brooklin General Store, Eggemoggin Country Store of Sargentville and Northern Bay Market of Penobscot are among the remaining general stores on the peninsula. Going back to the 1800s, Brooksville alone had four general stores — C.E. Snow’s, Isiah Lord’s, Ralph Condon’s and Holly Lumburner’s, she said.
“Every section of town was like Bangor, with neighborhoods, and each neighborhood had their own corner store,” Andrews said.
Buck’s Harbor Market is an important part of the community, said Green, who renovated the store in June. He hopes, but doesn’t expect, that the store will break into the black as a year-round business this winter, he said.
“I think the market is the beating heart of Brooksville and I think it would be a huge loss if we had to close,” said Green, who also has a home in Arizona. “We’ve had some really great times here. Over the years we’ve made a lot of friends. I think for the most part people care about their neighbors and are connected to their neighbors in a way that you don’t often see back in Scottsdale. There’s a more of a support network here.”
From finance to independent films
Born in Seattle and a 1969 Princeton University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Green and his wife Patty came to Maine during his 38-year career on Wall Street. He worked at the now defunct Kidder, Peabody & Co. and at Goldman Sachs before starting his own company, Westchester Capital Management, from scratch in 1980.
When he sold it, in 2010, it was managing $5 billion in assets, he said.
His foray into independent films began in 2003 with a TV documentary on gun control titled “Guns & Mothers,” for which he was the executive producer. As the co-founder of Animal Kingdom Productions, Green has produced 10 films, including director Robert Altman’s last film, “A Prairie Home Companion”; “Short Term 12,” starring Larson and Malek; and this summer’s “The Dead Don’t Die,” which starred Adam Driver and Bill Murray.
Green, who says he plans to get back into television production, sees the blending of movies and television as a mixed blessing. He loves seeing film on the big screen but added that, with movies premiering on home-streaming services like Netflix, there’s never been more demand for movies than there is now.
He declined to go into detail but said he hopes to produce two limited-run television series next year — when he’s not running the store, that is.
“People talk about the golden age of television, and they’re talking about the 1950s, and they get it wrong,” Green said. “We’re in the golden age right now.”