The Maritime Market, currently owned by Claude and Melissa Pope, was first established on Bald Head Island in 2001. The Popes bought it from Bald Head Island Limited in 2011 after Claude sold his business in Raleigh in 2007.
The Popes began visiting Bald Head Island in 1988 with their family and bought a place of their own in 2001. After Claude sold his business, he was in search of different business opportunities. In the years since buying the Maritime Market in 2011, the Popes have acquired Coastal Urge and opened Bald Head Blues, operated by their son. The Island Retreat and Spa is owned and operated by their daughter, Katie Guthrie and her husband Greg.
Aside from being a Platinum Sponsor of the Bald Head Island Conservancy, the Maritime Market helps the Conservancy with various fundraisers and conservation efforts.
About five or six times a year, the Market will host an oyster roast and donate the shells to the Conservancy’s recycling program for the Creek Bed Restoration project. The Market also donates items for the Conservancy’s annual silent auction and allows for raffle tickets to be sold outside during the summer for the annual golf cart raffle.
What drew the Pope family to the island many years ago and what has kept them coming back is the reason why the Maritime Market continues to sponsor and support the Conservancy’s efforts.
“The allure of Bald Head Island is the incredible natural beauty that we have here in the maritime forest, beaches, marsh and wildlife,” said Claude, “we want to help preserve and maintain the island because if the natural beauty goes away, the allure of the island goes away as well.”
The Bald Head Island Conservancy (BHIC) is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 that exists to discover, learn, conserve, and preserve. The Conservancy is located in a unique area within the Smith Island Complex which includes Bald Head, Middle and Bluff Islands, all of which are bounded by the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean.