Cape Elizabeth gourmet market moves from planning to building
CAPE ELIZABETH — A gourmet market and deli, nearly three years in the making, is scheduled to open this fall on Ocean House Road near the entrance to Cape Elizabeth High School.
Mike and Stephanie Concannon held a groundbreaking Monday for C Salt, a delicatessen that will offer soups, salads, sandwiches, prepared foods and more.
The couple bought the property about 2 1/2 years ago. Since then, they've navigated the Planning Board, traffic studies, financing and land appraisal. Now they're ready to build.
"It's been quite a long time in the planning process," Mike Concannon said this week. "We just want to do another business that we both have a passion for."
Concannon currently owns Port Printing Solutions, a commercial printing company in South Portland. He will stay on as president of that business, but move its offices to the second floor of the new Ocean House Road building.
He said he borrowed the concept for C Salt from Eddie's Market, a deli in the Charles Village neighborhood of Baltimore, where he went to college. He compared the concept to Clayton's Cafe in Yarmouth and Aurora Provisions in Portland's West End.
"We considered Falmouth and other areas, but after living here for a few years, we determined there was a huge need for a place like this in Cape," Stephanie Concannon said. "The key to any successful business is location, and I don't think we could find a better one than this."
The Concannons hope to do a lot of business with students and their parents, and anyone, really, who drives through the center of town.
The couple has minimal experience in the restaurant and food service industries, but the past few years have given them time to do their homework. Concannon attended a training seminar hosted by Zingerman's, a gourmet food giant based in Ann Arbor, Mich., which began as a lone delicatessen and now operates nine businesses.
The Concannons have also spent weekends taking day trips to gourmet markets in Camden and other nearby cities. They'll soon begin looking for a manager, both locally and in Philadelphia, where many such businesses have thrived.
They said they expect construction to take about six months and plan to be open by the end of September. The winter weather provided what they hope was the project's last delay; the foundation was scheduled to be laid two weeks ago, but it was too cold.
For now, they spend their evenings dreaming up menu items. They plan to offer bagels and breakfast sandwiches, and wine and microbrews to go. Concannon said they envision blueberry crumb cakes and a top-notch lobster roll in the summertime.
"We're going to play up the Maine theme," he said, "and use as many local, organic foods as we can."