A pair of customers walk out of the Rooster Brother kitchen supply store in downtown Ellsworth on Wednesday, June 14, 2023. The founders of the business, George and Pamela Elias, have listed the well-known store for sale for $2.9 million. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

A high-end kitchen supply store in Ellsworth that draws customers from far and wide is up for sale.

Rooster Brother, which was founded 36 years ago by Surry residents and co-owners George and Pamela Elias, and the property where it is located is on the market for $2.9 million, according to a listing by real estate firm Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International.

The four-story Victorian building at the corner of Main and South streets that houses the business was originally constructed in 1893, the listing says. In addition to the two stories of active retail space, it includes a third floor with commercial baking kitchen, inventory storage, and more potential retail space.

Used in prior years as the local Odd Fellows Hall and later as a hardware store, the property is less than an acre and includes “ample parking, lawn with picnic tables, 200 feet of river frontage and great exposure with a July traffic count of 18,000 vehicles a day,” the listing says.

Including the 13,000-square-foot building and the adjacent parking lot, the property has an overall assessed value of nearly $430,000, according to Ellsworth’s online property tax records.

The Eliases could not be reached for comment.

George Elias told the Bangor Daily News in 2004 that he and Pamela Elias named the store after one of their children’s favorite books. When they opened in 1987, the business was unusual for the city and surrounding area, he said.

Before then, George Elias was working as a roofing contractor and Pamela Elias was baking bread for local stores. They were both passionate about food, but didn’t want to run a restaurant. Opening a store where they could sell kitchenware and basic cooking supplies seemed more in line for what they wanted, he told the BDN.

“Customers rhapsodize about the beginning of our business,” George Elias told the BDN. “For the first time they didn’t have to go to Boston to buy good olive oil.”

While they focused first on kitchenware, before too long they expanded into wine and fine foods. Now the first floor is dedicated to fine foods including their own coffees roasted onsite, wine, chocolate, packaged foods and a selection of baked and deli items. The main floor upstairs features kitchenware like pots and pans, cutlery, utensils, dishes, dish towels and aprons, among other things.

When the store turned 25 years old in 2012, George Elias said the city’s downtown had changed so that the kitchen supply store blended in better with the rest of Main Street.

“Ellsworth is a great place to be. It’s rejuvenated from what it was when we moved here,” he said. “It used to be quiet. Now there are lots of small businesses on Main Street and everyone supports each other.”

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....