HANCOCK — It all started when Mary Flaum’s brother asked her if she wanted to look at property for sale.
“We looked at everything and then he said do you want to run an antique store?” said Flaum, a Winter Harbor resident who now co-owns Orchid Bay Treasures with her sister, Susan Webber of Gouldsboro. “This wasn’t planned at all.”
Flaum’s brother, Keith Young of Gouldsboro, has moved on to other things. But she and her sister are committed to the new business. It is located at 684 Route 1 in a building that had been an antique shop for years. But Orchid Bay Treasures is in no way affiliated with the former owners, Flaum said.
The previous shop, which had been closed for more than a year following the death of the owner, had no known name. A sign out front had said, simply, “Antiques and Collectibles.”
Flaum is in the process of reinventing the business.
“I want to recreate the whole place with new displays and unique displays, rustic, wood,” she said.
When she bought the property, all of the merchandise was displayed on homespun shelving, painted white, that ran up the walls and down two aisles. Flaum has already removed one of the aisle shelves and replaced it with display space that consists of a thick slab of wood on a base made out of a large log. She plans to replace the second aisle shelf with the same kind of setup.
The merchandise that came with the store included mostly glass and china, with some games, tools, linens, furniture, books and advertising. It was packed in, with only a narrow walkway between shelves.
Flaum has been trying to liquidate the old stock in order to make room for new items. She has made room for some fresh antiques as well as some Maine-made merchandise.
“I’m staying with the antiques, but I want to do other things,” she said. A small curio by the front door contains whimsies made by Laughing Moose Glassworks in Gouldsboro. Handmade pieces by MLO Handmade Stoneware Pottery now adorn an antique desk. She has also added items by Prospect Harbor Soap Co. and books by Maine authors.
Flaum said she had hoped to have the shop ready with new merchandise and at least a partial facelift by July 1. However, renovation projects are taking more time than she anticipated, plus there’s more merchandise than she originally thought.
“I’m still finding things I didn’t know were here,” she said.
She plans to keep the shop open as a work in progress through the fall and will continue to work on it over the winter. She hopes to have a grand opening sometime in the spring. Further renovations such as a new ceiling are likely to come later.
Flaum said she wants to carry quality merchandise that is unique or unusual, emphasizing Orchid Bay Treasures will not be a thrift shop.
“I want it to be fun,” she said. “I want people to enjoy it and love coming in just to look at interesting things.”