Familiar face to reopen market

Beacon Falls Market owner Charlie Lee, 73, of Beacon Falls, stands behind the meat counter at the store last week. Lee operated the market, which has been closed since February 2014, for many years and is reopening the market. –LUKE MARSHALL

Beacon Falls Market owner Charlie Lee, 73, of Beacon Falls, stands behind the meat counter at store last week. Lee operated the market, which has been closed since February 2014, for many years and is reopening the market. –LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — After being closed for more than a year, the Beacon Falls Market is getting ready to reopen.

The market on South Main Street will officially reopen its doors to the public on Monday.

“Everybody is happy. Everybody is asking me how coming back was. I’m very happy about it,” said Charlie Lee, owner of Beacon Falls Market.

Lee and his wife Jeane Lee took over the market from the Chicoski family in 1989. In October 2012, the Lees announced they were selling the market to Sarah Kim of New York. Lee still owned the building and said Kim always paid the rent. However, in February 2014, he did not receive the rent.

“We came by one Sunday and the doors were locked. I thought they went out somewhere and they would come back later. I said, ‘We’ll wait a couple days.’ They never came back,” Lee said.

Lee, 73, said he was upset when he found out Kim had closed the store and left.

“I was a little upset about it. I was ready to retire,” Lee said. “We had traveled after we sold it in 2013.”

Lee said he and his wife traveled to Korea, Canada, and the Grand Canyon.

“We never traveled together when I ran this store because somebody has got to be here. One person would go and one person would watch here,” Lee said.

After Kim left, Lee worked with lawyers to get his name back on the title to the store. Lee was able to take control of the store in May and began cleaning and remodeling it.

Before deciding to reopen the market himself, Lee said he tried to find someone else who could take it over. However, he did not have any luck.

“There are a lot of people interested in this store because there is only one store in the town. So people came in and looked. Some people were really interested, but they did not have the money. Some people had the money, but they didn’t have the experience,” Lee said.

Lee was hesitant to sell the store to someone who may end up just closing it in less than a year. So, after spending months showing the store to potential buyers, Lee decided he would just reopen the store himself.

“I talked to my wife and said, ‘How about we come back to here and pick up some business?’ I don’t know how many years we will go for. Maybe after that we’ll get someone who’s interested,” Lee said.

Lee said not having the Beacon Falls Market open was a hardship for residents.

“I know everybody in Beacon Falls. A lot of people know me. They really need a store in Beacon Falls,” he said.

First Selectman Christopher Bielik said the reopening of the market is good news for the town.

“We could not be more pleased. Not only that market itself is opening but a familiar face and name in the town is getting back in the game here,” Bielik said. “Now it’s in the best possible hands it could be.”