From her office above Buck’s Harbor, Sarah Cox conducts business across the United States as the owner of Lyric Tile Co. — and she does so amidst the beautiful natural surroundings that have inspired her for years.
While growing up in Wayland, Mass., “I spent my summers here as a child, as had my mother, on property purchased by my maternal great-grandfather in the 1880s,” Cox said. “I’m now blessed with a home on 2 acres overlooking Buck’s Harbor and down the (Eggemoggin) Reach to the Deer Isle bridge.”
She first visited Brooksville in 1946 and moved to the town permanently in 1996. “I felt like I was coming home when I came here,” she said. “It was the place; it was home.”
Having moved to Brooksville from New Hampshire, Cox was exploring job opportunities “when I stumbled across these seashell tiles” imported by a Los Angeles-based company with a manufacturing plant in the Philippines. She flew to L.A., met with the owner, and became the company’s exclusive representative.
Lyric Tile “is a wholesale distributor of decorative tiles finished in seashell,” Cox said. “They’re beautiful, they’re unique. I sell them to tile and bath showrooms” as far away as California and Florida.
Cox and her sister, Phyllis, are partners in PS Holdings LLC, a holding company that owns three properties in Brooksville, including Condon’s Garage and the Golden Stairs on Betsy’s Cove in Buck’s Harbor. The stairs along Coastal Road got their name from the expense related to their construction by the Works Progress Administration during the Depression.
Since settling in Brooksville, Cox has been active in the community. She joined the Brooksville Harbor Committee “when we started writing a harbor ordinance in 2001.” The committee oversees “all 53 miles of Brooksville coastal waters,” with approximately 750 moorings, Cox said.
Named the committee’s chairwoman after the harbor ordinance’s passage in 2002, she also served as the acting harbormaster from January 2004 to March 2018 and stepped down from the harbor committee in October 2018. She was the Castine harbormaster from 2012-2016, too.
Cox chairs the town’s ordinance committee, “which drafts and reviews all town ordinances for presentation to the voters,” and she handles “special projects for the selectmen as needed.”
She’s an 11-year member of the board of the Peninsula Ambulance Corps. “I head up the personnel committee,” involved primarily “with policies and procedures,” Cox said.
She serves as a trustee for the Brooksville Education Foundation, founded more than 16 years ago to support local education and students. Besides providing grants for specific programs at the Brooksville Elementary School, the foundation offers scholarships to residents pursuing postsecondary education.
The foundation awarded 29 scholarships in 2018 to students attending such schools as Maine Maritime Academy, Holy Cross, the University of Maine (and UMaine campuses in Fort Kent and Machias), Drexel University, Eastern Maine and Washington County community colleges, Harvard University, Bowdoin College, and the universities of Idaho, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. The scholarships were a minimum of $2,500 apiece.
“We also manage Project Read Up!, which mails an age-appropriate free book monthly to enrolled children from birth to the age of 5,” Cox said. Funded in affiliation with the Dollywood Foundation, the program draws on books in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
As to what makes Brooksville so special a home, Cox thought a moment. “I would think the geography, especially the water,” she replied. “From here I can see the sunrises, the sunsets, the moonrises.
“I’ve always enjoyed the places I’ve lived in the past in part because of the work I was doing and in part because of the friends I have made. That’s no different here.”