CAMDEN — Mark Boynton was a freshman in high school when he went to work at The Village Shop on Main Street in Camden.

At the time in 1969, he saw it as a bit of a demotion from making $1.50 per hour at IGA to $1.35 per hour to work for family friends at The Village Shop.

Now this shop, which has been in business steadily since about 1910 is closing. Boynton, who bought the business in 1981, has been here 53 years and he is ready to retire.

“It would be nice to have a summer off,” he said. “To mow the lawn when it needs it.”

Mark Boynton

He said he does not know what will go in that space, but the building’s owner, Lee Montgomery plans to gut it and remodel for the next tenant. The shop closes its doors officially Dec. 22.

Boynton said one factor is it has been getting hard to find the help he needs, a lament heard from employers all over the Midcoast. He said when someone comes in looking for a job now, you have to hire them on the spot, not take time to look at a resume. If they walk back out onto the street, he said, you will never see them again.

Boynton lives with his wife Alyce in Thomaston. They have two children.

He said the store has changed over the years in terms of what it sells. When he started it sold dinner ware, dishes that would arrive in wooden barrels, stationery, office supplies, and bridal items. He said that was back when people used a village store that way.

Over the years the market has changed and the business has had to change with it. The store has been catering to tourists visiting the area.

He bought the store from Jess Hosmer. Back when he was just an employee, he said he was sometimes admonished for staring out the window, “watching the world go by.”

Now he hopes to have time to use his fishing boat and take some much needed time off. Still, he may do some work. He said he plans to take the embroidery machines with him.

The store’s website includes a story by Paul Putnam on the history of the business. “The business directory for 1903 in Jack Williams’ History of Camden lists the George H. Cleveland Grocery on Main Street, presumably in his new building, but in December of 1910 Mr. Henry Opici opened the Village Shop in the Cleveland Building,” Putnam notes.