DAMARISCOTTA — The future of Yellowfront Grocery in Damariscotta is uncertain now that the family that has owned it for nearly a century is planning on giving it up.

Started nearly 100 years ago, Yellowfront has had to weather the arrival of Shaws, Hannaford, the internet and more. Jeff Pierce, co-owner of the store, said the increased competition, coupled with rising rent and healthcare costs, have left him with two choices: Sell or close.

“My intent is, I’ve got someone interested in taking it over, keeping us going in the immediate future,” said Pierce.

Long-time customers first caught wind of things on a Facebook post, which aimed to “clear up misinformation,” including that the family owns The Coastal Marketplace, and that the sale of the property near the Lincoln County Rifle Club is related to the closures. Neither of those things are true, as Yellowfront rents its property, and the sale of the property at 435 Main St. is unrelated, said Pierce.

When Yellowfront started, cars were still a novelty in some places and there was no such thing as a box store. Now, with nearby chain grocery stores, a Rite Aid across the street, a Dollar General opening up, and the rising prevalence of online shopping, things have been stretched thin.

“The pie keeps getting divided up so much,” said Pierce.

He said his intention is to sell to a buyer interested in keeping the store open, and that currently all signs point to that happening.

“I just was in a position where I would have had to close, and that would have been devastating for my employees, my community, and of course my family,” said Pierce.

Many longtime customers said they hope the store remains a grocery store.

“I’m probably in here at least twice a week,” said Maria Hurley. “I hope they can manage to stay open.”

Hurley said she’s a member of the local Lion’s Club, and that Yellowfront and the Pierce family have always supported their charitable efforts and the community.

“They always step up when it comes to supporting the community,” she said. “A grocery store like this is sort of what Maine’s all about.”

Long-time customer Sally McCumber got slightly emotional thinking about the possibility of losing the store. She’s been a customer of Yellowfront since at least 1947, back when the store was still located in downtown.

“They’ve done so much for so many people in the area,” said McCumber. “I’d hate to see them go by the wayside.”

The charm of Yellowfront, she said, is its small-town feel. Customers tend to run into people they know. Employees greet you with a smile. There are quirks and idiosyncrasies that only serve to make it more beloved.

“You’ll never have another store where you have to hold onto your cart so it doesn’t roll downhill,” said McCumber with a smile.

Pierce said the outpouring of support from long-time, loyal customers has been gratifying.

“It’s been great to hear from some of my loyal customers,” he said. “It’s a little emotional.”

Pierce is confident the store will remain open.

“I’m sure operations aren’t going to change too much,” he said. “The fact that it can still serve the community in some capacity is a big relief.”