Bailey restored: Falmouth couple revives former Portland antique business
FALMOUTH — What's in a name? In the case of F.O. Bailey, it's "an impeccable reputation."
That's according to Falmouth real estate broker David Jones, who, along with his wife of 30 years, Nancy McInnis-Jones, has purchased the F.O. Bailey name and added it to their existing, side-by-side businesses on U.S. Route 1.
In Jones' case, his 3-year-old branch of the Maine Real Estate Network is now F.O. Bailey Real Estate. In McInnis-Jones' case, her 4-year-old Falmouth Antiques & Furniture store is now F.O. Bailey Antiquarians.
Jones, who has been in the real estate business for 40 years, declined to say how much the couple paid for the name, but said it's well worth the investment.
"It's a Maine tradition," he said. "F.O. Bailey has the same prominence as L.L. Bean. We're proud to be a part of it."
The Joneses purchased the name from fellow Falmouth resident Joy Piscopo, who operated F.O. Bailey Antiquarians on Middle Street in Portland from 1977 until about 10 years ago, then on Depot Road until the building was sold and razed to make way for commercial development.
For the past several years, Piscopo has operated the business out of her home, she said. Now, however, she operates under her own name: Joy Piscopo Antiquarian Services.
The F.O. Bailey name is synonymous with "integrity, expertise and experience," Piscopo said. She expects the new owners will live up to that standard.
"I wouldn't have sold it to them if I didn't feel that they would carry the name into the future in a good way," she said.
The Joneses are among four families who have held the name. The origins date back to 1819, when Henry Bailey opened a general merchandise store on Ingraham's Wharf in Portland, according to a 1943 newspaper advertisement.
Over the next two centuries, the business evolved and diversified into a Sears-like department store, a real-estate company, an auctioneer and, eventually, an antiques store. As it evolved, the business transferred to Bailey's son, Frederick O. Bailey in 1867; to business partner Neal Allen in 1912; to the Piscopo family in 1977, and now to the Joneses.
Along with the name, the Joneses received business signs and a trove of sales records and catalogues dating back to the 1800s. Early this month, the couple erected new signs outside their dual businesses at 183 U.S. Route 1. Since then, interest has spiked, they said.
Kimberly Pondelis, an employee at the antique store since September, said a half dozen people inquired about the sign on its first day.
"It's caused a lot of excitement," she said.
The Joneses have lived in Falmouth for 14 years. Their three adult children graduated from Falmouth High School. Jones is originally from Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
Jones said it makes sense to marry the businesses under a shared name because their missions are similar. F.O. Bailey Real Estate can help people find a new home, then F.O. Bailey Antiquarians can help them furnish it.
McInnis-Jones also owns and operates Foreside Consignment Gallery, less than a mile away at 211 U.S. Route 1. She comes from a family of antique appraisers and auctioneers in her native New Hampshire, where her father and siblings established a name for themselves in the field, she said.
"McInnis is a big name in antiques in New Hampshire," she said, "but this is Maine."