FALMOUTH — In the summer of 1947 or 1948, high school student Tina Noyes worked at the ice cream counter at the Town Landing Market. Now, over 70 years later, his grandson Sam Reiche and his wife, Caitlin, have purchased the property.
Although Noyes, who still lives in Falmouth, can’t remember exactly the year she worked there, she does remember the customers.
“The whole area was pretty much summer cottages, and they were coming in for sundaes,” Noyes said.
For more than 140 years, Town Landing Market has been a Foreside Road staple, and the new owners say they hope that doesn’t change.
Although the Reiches purchased the property, Caitlin’s brother, Andrew Taylor, and the company he co-owns, Big Tree Hospitality, will lease the store and run the business. The Reiches will manage the land and the rental apartment upstairs. Big Tree Hospitality has several nationally recognized restaurants: Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland and Boston, and The Honey Paw and Hugo’s (closed since March 2020), both in Portland, as well as a commissary kitchen in Biddeford. Last year Big Tree bought Higgins Beach Market, a seasonal market in Scarborough. This will be the first market open all year round.
“We love spots like this and want to keep spots like this running and preserve them for exactly what they are and what they mean to communities,” Taylor said. “We were overwhelmed with the amount of stories we heard from locals and people who grew up in and around this market.”
The market, which is in a quirky old building just up a steep hill from Falmouth’s public beach and boat launch, is loved by locals, some of whom, like Corky Clarke, are wary of things changing.
“It’s a great anchor for the neighborhood,” he said. “It’s definitely a place we can’t wait to go. It’s one of the reasons we love being here. He praised the convenience of the store – many residents of the Falmouth-Foreside area, now a mix of summer homes and year-round homes, can walk or cycle to the market. And he’s often surprised by the range of goodies the little shop has to offer.
Taylor and her Big Tree Hospitality partner Arlin Smith keep the current staff, which Smith called “incredible.” Taylor also wanted to reassure customers that Town Landing’s lobster rolls will remain distinct from Eventide’s famous but unconventional brown butter lobster rolls. Small changes like decor, some produce, and a few additions to the menu are unavoidable, but “overall, expect nothing to change,” Taylor said.
“We still want it to be the center of the community and the community of Falmouth,” he continued. “IIt’s kind of a generational place that people grow up with and interact with in different ways. I think that’s our biggest goal, way beyond any, you know, financial goals or, you know, food service or, you know, anything that we put on the shelves.
The market on State Road 88 is believed to have opened in 1880. Over the decades it has seen a number of ownership changes, most recently before last week in 2015 when MaryBeth Bachman bought the store at Tom Randall.
Ford Reiche, father of Sam Reiche and a historian with the Falmouth Historical Society, said the market had evolved significantly over its 100-plus-year lifespan. In 1907 it was a fruit and confectionery store, HJ Poland, Fruit and Confectioner. In 1916, times changed: it was renamed Calden’s Market and was equipped with petrol pumps. Calden’s also sold camera film and ice cream. At the end of the 1940s, the Bernard family gave the market the name it still bears today. And about 30 years ago he got the famous, or maybe infamous, sign that boasts “Fresh Native Ice Cubes”. Whatever the changes, and there have been many, Town Landing Market has always been located in the heart of the seaside district.
“I’m just thrilled to see what Big Tree is doing with the market and to see it continue to thrive in Falmouth,” said new market owner Caitlin Reiche. “I have three kids and my brother has four kids, and maybe they’ll all work together in the market one day, like it was Sam’s grandma’s first job.”
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