BEVERLY — Rowand’s Seafood, a family-owned fish market that has been a fixture on the Beverly waterfront since 1959, has closed.

Owner Dana Rowand said he could no longer afford the rising costs of seafood, so he decided to shut down the business that his father began more than six decades ago. The last day was Sunday.

“It’s terrible,” Rowand said. “It was not the plan. No one’s sadder than me.”

Rowand said the economy and a lobster season that has been shortened by government regulations have “destroyed” the fishing industry, leading to a shortage of product and an increase in prices. He said he used to be able to buy lobster for $4.99 per pound during the summer. Now the price is $10 per pound.

“Usually people respect that you’re going to pay more for seafood,” he said. “You had something that was already high but still went up. But it’s still below profit margins.”

Elliott Rowand, Dana’s late father, opened Rowand’s in 1959. Dana Rowand said his father, who was a lobsterman, bought the business mostly for the pier on the property, but eventually began running the retail market on a full-time basis.

“I’ve grown up and lived here my whole life,” he said. “I can’t pay the bills, that’s the bottom line. I just had to part with it.”

Rowand’s has served generations of customers on the North Shore. News of its closing prompted an outpouring on the business’ Facebook page. Manager Ronnie Desjadon-Gatti said some longtime customers cried when they called the store and learned it was closing.

“Some of our customers are in their 90s and have been coming here since it opened,” he said. “People are saying, ‘I’ve been coming here my whole life.’”

Dana Rowand said his son worked with him as the store manager until recently but left to work for the post office because he needed a steady income, so the business would not have been passed on to the next generation.

Rowand said he is looking to sell the building, located at 2 Cabot St. between the railroad tracks and the Beverly-Salem bridge. He said the use of the land is limited and said condos could not be built there.

One potential use is parking. A new restaurant, Mission Boathouse, is under construction on the waterfront and is scheduled to open this spring or summer. The restaurant will have 350 seats but only 60 parking spaces on site.

The restaurant’s owner, Marty Bloom, said Monday he was unaware that Rowand’s had closed. He said he might have interest in buying the Rowand’s site for parking.

“We would certainly have interest in speaking with them,” Bloom said.

Jon Hurst, president the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, said Rowand’s closing will have more of an impact on the city because it is so unique. Hurst is a Beverly resident and was a customer of Rowand’s.

“It’s sad,” he said. “A longtime business right on the harbor, for a seaside community that one hurts more than a lot of others that we’ve seen.”

Hurst said many businesses are struggling with rising costs at a time when people may be cutting back their spending due to inflation.

“We as consumers need to look in the mirror and remind ourselves that small businesses need sales, particularly in these times, to survive,” he said.

Staff Writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, by email at pleighton@salemnews.com, or on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.

Staff Writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, by email at pleighton@salemnews.com, or on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.

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