Father’s Day always falls right around my dad’s birthday on June 14. I’m not the kind of person to lump together birthdays and holidays when they fall close together. I prefer instead to treat them separately and give my dad something for each.
Thankfully a new gift shop recently opened in Bangor, and I knew I would be able to find something he would enjoy.
My dad appreciates the hard work people put into the things they make. In fact, he’s quite the craftsman himself. He can make practically anything, so I think he would appreciate The Not So Empty Nest, which is owned by Melinda Frost.
When I stepped through the doors of the new shop, I didn’t know where to look first. From floor to ceiling, the space at 624 Hammond St. was filled with Maine-made treasures.
About 75 percent of the products at The Nest, as Melinda and her mother, Winni, like to call it, are made in Maine. In a unique concept, the artisan and the shop benefit because the items are sold on consignment. The shop also has some wholesale items, which Melinda order to complement the products in the store.
Melinda, who has 35 years of retail management experience in big-box stores, dreamed of opening a shop like The Nest for quite some time.
“This was the empty-nesting plan,” she told me. Melinda, the mother of three children over the age of 20, said the shop’s name actually came about as a joke.
“The nest isn’t so empty,” she said with a laugh, explaining that her home is a bit of a revolving door for her kids, who come and go.
Despite the fact that her nest at home is full, she decided to open up the shop. She hasn’t given up her full-time job yet because she wants to ensure the success of her small business, but as I stood in the shop and talked with her, a half-dozen shoppers came through, along with a flower delivery and an artisan with a bag full of goods.
Each of them was greeted with a friendly “Welcome to The Nest!”
Because Melinda is still working, she gets help from her mother, Winni Murray, and her sisters, Mia Applebee and Melissa Lowe. Each of them contributes something to the shop as well, including upcycled items from Winni and Mia and a line of organic teas and other products from Melissa’s business, Living Pretty.
All throughout the shop are unique items from Maine artisans, from handmade candy and sweets from Dandy Candy in Bangor, soaps from Maude’s Milk Soaps in Surry, pottery from Good Land Pottery in Montville, fabric items from Chicks and Quarters Farm in Holden, hand painted and stenciled wood signs from Belle & Summer Co. in Bangor and handcrafted jewelry from Tree-To-Sky Studio on Parks Pond — there are products from nearly 50 Maine vendors in the shop.
There’s a section dedicated to products for your furry friends — the shop is dog-friendly — and another section for children. There are books, Maine-made wines and candles, furniture and homemade jams, macrame plant holders and driftwood art. Whatever you’re looking for, the shop probably will have it.
For Melinda, a Bangor resident who grew up in Brewer, owning a shop that supports locals is important. She loves to shop small and did this as much for others as she did for herself.
“I wanted to support the community and state,” she said.
From Wednesday, June 15, to Sunday, June 19, Melinda and her family are holding a grand-opening week, complete with a sidewalk sale, food samples and a table full of drawings to enter, which the vendors contributed to.
The shop is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. I was pleasantly surprised by the other offerings surrounding The Nest’s location in the Fairmount neighborhood on Hammond Street as well.
Across the street is Charlotte Lorraine’s, a clothing consignment boutique. Nearby is Second Chances, an antique shop, along with the Whoopie Pie Cafe and a bunch of other places to shop. If you’re looking for an afternoon out, you could shop for gifts, antiques and clothes, then grab some lunch and dessert — all without having to move your car from its parking space.
As for me, I found a few things for my dad for his birthday and Father’s Day. I won’t give it all away because I know he’ll be reading this, but he can expect a sweet treat, a card with a portrait of one of his favorite animals and another handmade creation that has a coastal theme.
Melinda’s shop is always stocking new things and looking for new vendors. She’s expecting a delivery of wine from Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville and handcrafted clocks from a Maine clockmaker.
If you want to support small business and local artisans, The Not So Empty Nest may have just what you’re looking for.