James Gallagher will open a new grocery store and deli in May called Salty Brick Market at 35 Main Street in Bangor. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

A Bangor business owner hopes to fill a hole in the retail landscape of downtown, when this spring he opens a grocery store and deli on Main Street.

Salty Brick Market is set to open sometime in May at 35 Main St., the former location of Country Blessings gift shop, and before that, Maine Cloth Diaper Company.

Owner James Gallagher, who also owns Bangin’ Whoopie located just up the street at 6 Water St., plans to offer grocery items, local meat and produce, beer and wine, a sandwich counter and salad bar, along with everyday sundries at his new business.

He’s been working on the space since signing the lease in July 2021, and though the pandemic made everything from getting permits to sourcing building materials take far longer than anticipated, Gallagher is now almost ready to open. He said the pandemic was actually the catalyst for his decision to open a place like Salty Brick.

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“I was scooping flour at Bangin’ Whoopie one day, and it just came to me that if I ever needed just, like, a couple eggs or some other real basics, there was no place within walking distance of downtown to get it,” he said.

In addition to sandwiches and grab-and-go items, Salty Brick will offer a full salad bar, as well as some indoor seating for those who want to grab lunch or a snack.

Salty Brick will not be downtown Bangor’s first market. Around 2009, there was the short-lived bodega-style Broad Street Market, in the spot now occupied by the jewelry store Designs by Aaron. And between 2014 and 2016, Bottles and Cans at 48 Main St. sold groceries, beer and wine.

Additionally, prior to the decline of downtown Bangor in the 1980s after the Bangor Mall opened, groceries and markets selling fruit, produce and meat were a common sight throughout downtown for many decades. Salty Brick aims to fill a niche somewhere between grocery store and deli.

“I think you need to have a good mix of products, and be able to serve a lot of different kinds of customers,” he said. “Plus, there are so many more people living and working downtown than there were even just five years ago. Downtown is ready.”

Gallagher recently launched a Facebook page for the market, where he’s taking suggestions for the sorts of things future customers would want to see in the store.

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.