Media Archive

Sebec Village Shops: A work in progress

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 34, August 20, 2003

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

Cafe, post office and farmers market coexist in a quaint, country general store environment

Observer Photo/Jessica Lee
SEBEC VILLAGE SHOPS - The crew at Sebec Village Shops and Cafe takes a break last week from the daily grind to pose for a group photograph. In photo below, Jason Hartford of Checkerbery Farm in Parkman brings a fresh delivery of flowers to the Sebec Village Farmer's Market last week.

SEBEC The Sebec Village Shops - consisting of a coffee shop, farmer's market and post office - is a "work in progress," says Melinda Wentworth, co-manager of the cafe.

Owned by Forbcs Smiley, a seasonal resident of Sebec and Martha's Vineyard. Mass. renovations have been ongoing, even as the businesses have been operational almost a year. Looking back on that year, Wentworth said she is glad everything had gone "so gradually," including the renovations. She said Smiley had opted to give the building in the center of the village a retro feel.

"We developed the business based on that vision," Wentworth said. "It's been awesome."

The building that houses the shop's is a renovated farmhouse &Mac247; with a view of Sebec Lake from the closed front porch of the cafe. According to Wentworth, some $ 600,000 as gone into renovations and additions to the property, since it was purchased in 2001. "Originally, people asked. 'Why are you doing this in Sehec?' " said Wentworth "We knew people would come. It's just a beautiful setting."

The cafe employs about 15 part-time workers &Mac247; many local high school students &Mac247; with Wentworth and Elise Templet as co-managers. The cafe offers a variety of pastries, coffee, and serves breakfast and lunch, sometimes offering exotic tastes, such as Thai or Greek food.

"We're not fancy, but we use fresh ingredients and we try to make good food." Wentworth said.

The market, managed by Annabelle Kelman, offers local. fresh produce, along with home-made breads and other items found in old-time general stores.

Both the cafe and market are open Monday through Saturday at 7 a.m. The market closes at 7 p.m., while the cafe stops serving at 2 p.m.

The Post Office, managed by Jayne Lello. is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. But mailboxes are accessible until 7 p.m.

According to Wentworth, there have been "a lot of ups and downs," during the first year in business for the shops, but stressed that it has run "incredibly smooth, especially for a start-up."

She said working with the young people, many on their first Jobs, and meeting so many local people through the business has been an "incredibly rewarding experience."

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.