Atlantic Edge owners Kathy and Ed Tibbetts have handed over the business’s keys to Andy, Nick and Kristin Page after 19 years of building the lobster pound. The Pages began talking to the Tibbettses in June and the families reached a verbal agreement for the sale about a month later. They signed a purchase and sale agreement Nov. 1 and the Pages will take full ownership Jan. 1 as the youngest buyers and sellers in the Boothbay Harbor area.
“They’ve been down here working with us, kind of showing us the ropes,” Nick said. “We’ve been learning a lot, selling a lot … They have a pretty smooth business running as it is, so we're going to try and continue that and continue providing excellent product to consumers and local restaurants.”
The Pages were a little nervous about the pandemic’s effect on prices since the market was weak at the start of the season; however, prices have since evened out and the business continues to see its regular 15 or so vessels landing catches, said Kristin. “It normally changes … and they take on a couple more (vessels) in the summer and we're hoping that happens again.”
Atlantic Edge will also continue providing its other services like individual sales for lobster and other seafood and free boiling of lobster. The Pages said they have long term plans to expand their most popular service, shipping live lobster nationwide.
The business is approaching a 20-year lease renewal on the town-owned property, which is in the planning stages of a major project: The wharf will undergo repairs and the building will be replaced. Nick said the perk of leasing is they will have some say in the layout and construction of the building.
“We worked with Julia (Latter), the town manager, and we didn't change the lease too much from Kathy and Eddie's previous lease … Everything's been a smooth transition so far … I think we'll set it up so it's a little bit more customer friendly.”
The Pages said there are still many moving parts to taking over the business, most notably those in the back office, but the Tibbettses have been on hand to help soften the learning curve.
Said Nick, “It'll be a good transition period for us in the springtime when things are slow and we're getting comfortable with all the computers, working on the website, doing a little more advertising, just trying to slowly build and go the distance a little from what (the Tibbettses) already established.”