BATH — Since 1958, Gilmore’s Seafood has filled its display case with fresh local catches. But after 57 years in business, the doors of the family-run fish market on Court Street will close July 3.

Owner Ben Gilmore, who bought the store in 1985 from his father, has decided to retire. The proposal to build a CVS Pharmacy at his store’s location, coupled with a generous offer for the property, was the push he needed to make the decision.

“I applied for Social Security today,” Gilmore said on Wednesday. “I’m officially done with the seafood business. It’s been good to me, good to us.”

The 62-year-old Gilmore worked at the store for 40 years, and running a business for that long hasn’t always been easy. Working long days nearly every day of the week means he’s looking forward to staying home and taking it easy. “I’m looking forward to the day I don’t have to come to work. This case has been my life,” said Gilmore.

Not to say there haven’t been some perks.

“I’ve made a lot of friends,” said Gilmore. “They say, ‘I’m going to miss you,’ and I say, ‘I’m going to miss you, too.’ Genuinely, I will.”

Ray Franklyn, a chef at Solo Bistro in Bath, said he’s been going to Gilmore’s every day for seafood. “I’m trying to figure out right now who to use for my lobster and my seafood,” said Franklyn. “We’re going to miss Gilmore’s. But he’s happy, so that’s good.”

Going from a life of hard work to having little to do won’t be a problem, Gilmore said. He plans to keep busy with a variety of projects. If he ever gets the urge to work with seafood again, he’ll head out on a lobster boat with his son, a lobsterman.

“I’ve got lots of things I can do,” said Gilmore. “Plus, I’m going to play some golf.”

While the store’s current location will be demolished in the coming months to make way for the new CVS, the Gilmore’s name could reappear in the future. Gilmore’s brother Kevin may buy the equipment and take over the name. Local developer Mark Sewall has a building approved just across from Gilmore’s current location on Quimby Street, and there is a possibility that Kevin could open a new seafood market there. But there are no guarantees.

“We don’t really know anything for sure yet,” said Kevin. “We have to close the deal first and then go from there.”

Sewall said he’s willing to give the Gilmore brothers time to work everything out. “They have first refusal on the building, and I told them that when we first started,” said Sewall. “I told them the price I want for the land, and the cost I want to do the building.”

If the Gilmores decide not to continue the business, Sewall said he still plans to build on the Quimby Street property. “I’ll probably just work with a real estate guy, the same person that came to us with CVS,” he said. “I’ve talked to him, and he said, ‘If they don’t take it, I know I can find someone that will take it.’ I probably won’t build it until I get a tenant.”

As for Ben Gilmore, he plans to get out of running the business for good, and head to Florida in the winter.

“I hope to be a snowbird,” he said. “Time will tell.”

Chris Chase can be contacted at:

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