CASTINE — For a small coastal town, locals can be the difference between a business succeeding and failing.
For MarKel’s Bakehouse, the owners are locals. Kelly and Mark Sawyer have lived in Castine for about five years, and many of the locals who live in town know them.
“I love Castine. I was born here, and my dad was a local doctor here for many years,” Kelly Sawyer said.
Her husband, Mark, is from Falmouth, so Castine is still a new way of living for him. But the restaurant business is something both of them know well.
“We’ve been in the business of working in restaurants for what seems like forever,” Kelly chuckles. “Whether it’s a restaurant, hotel or pub, between the two of us, we’ve worked in it.”
Making the move from Portland to Castine came as their youngest child, Maddie, was just about to start high school.
“It was a big move for her (Maddie) since she was used to having access to many things in Portland,” Kelly said. “Castine’s not like that, but she adapted.”
After making the move, both Kelly and Mark came to work at Bah’s Bakehouse, owned by Barbara Macomber, better known as “Bah” to the locals.
Bah also owned Stella’s Jazz Nocturnal right below the Bakehouse, and ran both for 22 years.
“Bah finally just became a grandmother and she felt it was the perfect time to step aside and spoil her grandchild,” Kelly said. “But she couldn’t do that with the businesses, so Mark and I decided to see if she would lease us the buildings.”