ELLSWORTH — Elizabeth Hilts said customers have been telling her for a long time that she should move into the former Grasshopper Shop space in downtown Ellsworth.
Hilts, who has now done just that with her boutique shop Elizabeth’s, said she became sold on making the move from Hancock after spending time in downtown Ellsworth during December as one of the nine businesses invited to take part in the Holiday Marketplace in the former Grasshopper Shop.
“The retail space is just so nice,” she said Tuesday afternoon while giving a tour of the shop. “After that, it was a no-brainer for me.”
She said many people who shopped the Holiday Marketplace asked her, “Are you going to stay?” And stay she did, moving quickly so that there was no gap between the marketplace closing and her store opening.
“I didn’t want it to shut down,” she said, noting that she felt there was a positive momentum in place. “I said to myself, ‘I gotta do this.’”
Elizabeth’s is now open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The shop offers a variety of clothing and housewares and also has a baby section. The clothing is all either made in America or ethically sourced, she said. Hilts said she plans to add two dressing rooms to the space.
Hilts Landscaping in Hancock, which she runs with her husband, Robert, will remain in business and is set to open in mid-April. Hilts said moving her boutique business from Hancock to the old Grasshopper Shop space gives her more space, and she loves the large windows that give her lots of display space.
Peter Lione, who did window decorations for the Holiday Marketplace, also will work with Hilts now that she is set up there.
Even in the short time she has been open in Ellsworth, Hilts said the response “has been so positive” and she already feels like she made the right decision.
Others are glad to see her, too. Downtown businessman Paul Markosian called Elizabeth’s a “great asset to the heart of Ellsworth” and that he is “thrilled” she is in business here. Economic Development Director Micki Sumpter, who said she shops at Hilts’ store, said it is great news for Ellsworth’s downtown.
Gretchen Wilson, executive director of the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce, helped launch the Holiday Marketplace initiative. At the time, she said there was a hope that one of the businesses taking part in that might decide to stay in Ellsworth.
“I think the idea was to show businesses what shopping is like, what the economy is like, on Main Street,” said Wilson on Tuesday. “I can’t be more pleased.”
Wilson said other businesses that took part in the Holiday Marketplace also had positive experiences, and some are looking at potential options in Ellsworth.