HALLOWELL — The downtown market that served city residents for 75 years is slated to reopen under new ownership next month just a door north of its empty namesake.

Boynton’s Market, the tiny grocery that operated on the corner of Water and Union streets from 1936 until it closed earlier this year, was incorporated Dec. 12 by 23-year Hallowell residents Donald and Ruth Lachance, according to a document filed with the Maine Division of Corporations in the Office of the Secretary of State.

The new Boynton’s Market would be the only grocery store in Hallowell and will move into a building that’s owned by Jeanne Langsdorf one door up from the old Boynton’s.

Langsdorf also lives in Hallowell. “We thought to be successful, we needed someone from Hallowell to run it,” Ruth Lachance said. “We need to match the business model of the old store.”

And the old store’s influence is evident in the new business plan from the name to the Lachances’ retention of the old Boynton’s phone number, 622-2352.

Ruth Lachance said she and her husband bought The Market, the small store Langsdorf opened in July, then signed a 10-year lease for the property, which is two first-floor storefronts that are connected to each other.


“We bought the business from them so we weren’t competing with our neighbors,” Ruth Lachance said.

Ruth Lachance said the store will sell coffee, baked goods, homemade soup, Italian sandwiches and other takeout goods with a grocery, deli and meat market.

The new store will not, however, offer the custom cuts of meat that made a name for the original Boynton’s. Ruth Lachance also said there won’t be pizza, because an oven is too costly. But the store is getting licenses to sell lottery tickets, beer, wine, liquor and cigarettes.

Donald Lachance, recently out of the construction business, is the president of the corporation and will be the one mostly running the store, his wife said.

On Wednesday, he was in the store putting polyurethane on the hardwood floor and hauling in shelving. It is the Lachances’ first foray into the grocery business.

Ruth Lachance, who sells insurance, said orders for refrigeration units have been placed, while more shelving should arrive within a week.


The spaces they’re set to occupy formerly housed two Langsdorf enterprises: The Market, which Langsdorf said closed Dec. 15, and J. Fitzgerald, an antique store she closed when planning her grocery’s opening.

It has been a tumultuous year for Boynton’s, the institution with the signature red-and-white awning that still hangs over the doorway on Water Street.

In February, the original Boynton’s closed for what owner Karen Buck said were renovations, but the store never reopened. Buck had worked at the store from 1984 to 2006, when she bought the business from building owner Steven Baker, of Pittston.

By June, 56-year-old Thomas Hibbert of Randolph was in the building, announcing he would be operating the Hallowell General Store by summer’s end. But Hibbert falsely identified himself as “Tom Hubbard” and also had a troubled past, including pleading conditionally guilty in Lincoln County Superior Court to stealing $74,000 of his elderly mother’s money, a bankruptcy and a lawsuit filed in June in Cumberland County Superior Court alleging he stole $80,000 from a mentally ill woman, forcing her into destitution.

Hibbert turned his key to the building back to Baker after learning the Kennebec Journal was going to publish a story detailing that history. The story ran on June 23.

On July 2, Buck, at age 44, died of a brain aneurysm in her apartment above the store she once ran.


Lachance said before deciding on the Boynton name, she wanted the approval of the Bakers and Karen Buck’s mother, Alice, a longtime clerk at Boynton’s.

“The Boynton’s name is really important,” Ruth Lachance said. “Once we got the Bakers’ blessing and Alice Buck’s blessing, we figured, ‘Why not?'”

The Lachances “did their homework,” said Deborah Caldwell, a resident of the nearby Cotton Mill Apartments on Academy Street who clerked at The Market. “They know how much that name means to Hallowell.”

And Ruth Lachance said Alice Buck will clerk at the new store.

“All these big stores have kind of killed the little guy,” Alice Buck said. “Hallowell’s downtown needs a market.”

She added, “I think it’s going to be a good thing for Hallowell.”


Caldwell said she looks as it not so much as the Lachances are opening a new store, but rather building on the legacy of the old Boynton’s, picking up where The Market left off.

“It’s a continuation,” she said. “And the selection of the Boynton name proves it.”

And if Karen were still around?

“I think she’d think it was a good idea,” Alice Buck said.

Michael Shepherd — 621-5632


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