Handy's in Yarmouth is a homecoming for Pownal native

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YARMOUTH — Pownal native Jeanne Twomey has joined Frank Grondin as a new co-owner and operator of Handy’s Market and Cafe, at 367 Main St.

Yarmouth is already a place where Twomey feels at home.

As a youngster, Twomey said she would ride her bike from Pownal to Yarmouth. She enjoyed the feeling of connection to other people and places, traveling from the rural town to a place larger and busier. Many of the landmarks in Yarmouth, notably on Main Street, remain the same. 

“I have a kindred spirit for Yarmouth,” she said. 

The enthusiasm for her work and the focused, yet easygoing manner she exudes with customers and staff at Handy’s is evident. It’s now a bit over a month that Twomey has been on the job at Handy’s. Prior to that, she was a managing partner with Flatbread Co. pizza in Portland.

In an earlier life, the building at 367 Main St. housed Andy’s Handy Store. The convenient store to pick up whatever was needed at home occupied this corner since 1935. It was a site a younger Twomey would pass on her bicycle.

“It’s a bit of a homecoming for her,” said project developer Sean Ireland of Twomey. “She brings a great deal of experience and shares our vision for the project — to be a gathering place for the community and to serve the market/cafe needs of the Yarmouth village and beyond. We are in the process of looking at how we begin to better utilize and program our unique spaces.”

Otto’s Pizza shares part of the first-floor space at 367 Main St. with Handy’s. Potato-based doughnuts are there also, through a Holy Donut offering.

The Carriage House, the center of it all, is accessible from the main store. It also has its own entrance on East Elm Street. The Gorham Savings Bank Community Room offers quiet and private space for meetings. Finding such space for nonprofit organizations can be a challenge; being able to reserve room on the second floor for up to two hours at a time at no charge is a benefit. GCR reservations must be made in advance.

Event planning is underway at Handy’s at other Main Street locations, including at 317 Main Community Music Center. The Farmers Market associated with 317 Main is set to open June 1.

Twomey completed the Main Street and Downtown Parking Study organized by town Economic Development Director Denise Clavette. Parking needs for businesses will be reviewed so that all Main Street shops can thrive. 

The outdoor patio is ready to be enjoyed, once the weather calms and blue replaces a gray sky.  Chairs and tables await outdoor diners. A decorative stone wall and floor literally grounds the patio’s boundaries. 

A place for people to meet, a place for people to run into someone they know while running an errand. Main Street businesses, such as Handy’s, continue in that goal of service, Twomey explained. A Mother’s Day celebration gave the Maine Womens Fund a percentage of sales. 

There’s “a lot of really passionate people here that really work hard to give back to their community,” she said.

Lisa D. Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or lconnell@theforecaster.net. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.

Lisa D. Connell / The Forecaster

Handy’s co-owners Frank Grondin and Jeanne Twomey work with the team at the Yarmouth market and cafe.