SCARBOROUGH — The couple who purchased the Pine Point Fisherman’s Co-op and Rising Tide Restaurant in April say their new business is doing well.

The early success follows concern about the sale from members of the more than 4-decade-old co-op, who were worried the change of ownership could mean the end of the local fishing community.

Susan Bayley Clough and Vincent Clough bought the buying station and connected restaurant at 96 King St. from Gary Johnson and Tim Staples, and have renamed it Stern Seafood.

The Cloughs also own Bayley’s Lobster Pound and a connected restaurant, the Bait Shed, and Garage BBQ, which is connected to the Dog Days of Pine Point Gift shop.

The buying station opened April 6, the day they closed the deal, and the restaurant opened May 16. The property, assessed by the town at $611,000, also continues to operate a bait cooler, which gives lobsterman without their own space a place to store bait. It’s the last remaining cooler in Pine Point, Bayley Clough said.

According to Town Councilor Peter Hayes, the co-op operated as a nonprofit serving the fishing community for 43 years. Fisherman expressed their concerns about the change in ownership and the potential for development – and the possible loss of a place to sell their catch, and buy and store bait – during a Jan. 16 council workshop.

Deed restrictions required council approval of a sale, and an agreement was eventually reached to ensure the location remained a working waterfront.

“There are still concerns with some language in the document, but as of now, I’ve not heard any concerns that they’re operating in a way that defies the documents,” Hayes said Wednesday. “We will closely monitor the situation. It’s in everyone’s best interest to make this work.”

Bayley Clough said she believes community concern correlated with their decision to convert the bait cooler at Bayley’s Lobster Pound into a bar and restaurant in 2011.

“The town built this big, beautiful new dock next to the Pine Point Co-Op building, and that drove business away from our location,” she said. “I think that the perception of fisherman was that we did it because we didn’t want them there, and that wasn’t the case. It was just a decision based on the best use we saw for our business.”

She said that the prior owners, Johnson and Staples, had been there for more than 30 years. Although the Cloughs had tried their best to quell resident concerns, people worried that they wouldn’t continue to run the location in accordance with its traditional use.

“We have a lot of loyal followers and local people who were happy to see us open another waterfront place, but change is hard, and some people were understandably fearful, especially because it involved their livelihood,” Bayley Clough said. “People who spoke in concern before have already done business transactions with us. We’re still doing this exactly the way it was done before.”

She said the new location allows the business to “skip the middle man” and purchase products at boat prices. Renovations to the interior included new paint, tile work and an updated menu.

They also installed a bar constructed from a boat Vincent’s father built in the 1960s, and said some work is still needed to bring the location in line with their future goals. Bayley Clough said renovation costs to date have amounted to $200,000, and the buying station still needs new pumps.

But as the fourth generation in a family business, she said working closely with relatives has always provided her a level of comfort and happiness. She plans to continue running the restaurant in a way that reflects community values and hopes people can see the effort they’ve put in.

“We like our community, and we like working hard,” Bayley Clough said. “(Vincent and I) are with each other a lot, working seven days a week, working long, grueling hours. But it’s worth it. Our 6-year-old daughter gets to visit us here, too. It’s a cool way to live.”

Krysteana Scribner can be reached at [email protected] or 780-9094. Follow her on Twitter: @krysteana2016.

Susan Bayley Clough and Vincent Clough bought the Pine Point Fisherman’s Co-op and Rising Tide restaurant at 96 King St. in Scarborough, and renamed it Stern Seafood.

The Cloughs say their business is doing well, despite initial concerns from Pine Point Fisherman’s Co-op members about the impact of the ownership change on the fishing community.

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