Elizabeth and Michelangelo Ciccarelli bought Boynton’s Market at 153 Water St. in Hallowell and renamed it Ciccarelli’s Market, Deli & Gelato in October. Less than four months later, the couple are seeking a buyer for the business while they continue to operate it. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

HALLOWELL — Less than four months after taking over Boynton’s Market and renaming it Ciccarelli’s Market, Deli & Gelato, the owners have decided to sell the iconic market in downtown Hallowell.

Michelangelo and Elizabeth Ciccarelli of Farmingdale bought the lease to operate Boynton’s Market at 153 Water St. from Don and Ruth LaChance in October 2020, with plans to add gelato to the store’s offerings.

On Monday, however, Michelangelo Ciccarelli said he is not the right person to operate the market and wants to sell the business to someone “who sees its value and potential.”

“It just needs a businessman,” he said. “I think it’s got a great future. It just needs the right guy.”

Ciccarelli said the market will remain open while the search for a new operator continues. He said he and his wife have received inquiries about the business but received no offers.

The store is listed on Craigslist for $69,000, with additional cost for inventory and the equipment for making and storing gelato, an Italian form of ice cream.

The $69,000 covers the transfer of the lease to use the storefront but does not include the building.

In a Dec. 31 Facebook post, Michelangelo Ciccarelli wrote he believed it was in the market’s best interest to transfer ownership.

“I bought the market with some dreams and goals but have realized that I am not the right fit for it,” the post reads. “I am not the businessman that I thought I was.”

That Dec. 31 post was met with well wishes from area residents. In a reply to one of the commenters, Michelangelo and Elizabeth Ciccarelli wrote the closing was not due to the store’s performance.

Boynton’s Market has more than 80 years of history between two neighboring locations in Hallowell. It opened in 1936 one door south of the current location.

It operated there until 2011, when the store was caught in a whirlwind of events, including the sudden death of then-owner Karen Buck.

In December 2011, the LaChances announced the market was coming back at its current location.

Local business owners said they hoped the market will continue to operate.

John Merrill, owner of Merrill’s Bookshop, said Tuesday the market is the only local place where he can buy the print edition of The New York Times.

“I really hope that it survives in some capacity,” Merrill said. “Under normal circumstances, I would be there every day that I’m open, at least picking up The New York Times, or getting coffee.”

Chris Vallee, president of the Hallowell Area Board of Trade’s board of directors, said it was important for the market to remain in downtown Hallowell.

“It’s very important to have somebody step up and buy it,” he said. “A lot of local residents, including myself, depend on it every day.”

Vallee, a real estate agent and a partner in downtown’s Quarry Tap Room, said the market might be the oldest business still operating in Hallowell.

Vallee said the business might benefit from promoting its food and bringing back a full-service meat counter and other popular products, such as “famous Boynton’s mincemeat.”

“I think it’s a good location,” Vallee said. “I think it’s a good steady business.”

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