UNITY — An Amish store has already drawn hordes of customers just days after it reopened after a fire destroyed the building in January.
John Yoder, the new owner of the popular Amish Community Market and Bakery, described the reopening as “simply fantastic.”
Standing on the market now, the charred remains immediately after the fire are a distant memory. The front porch — lined with handcrafted wooden chairs, produce and potted plants — creates an idyllic fall scene in Maine and invites patrons to enter.
Sue Reynolds, who lives on Mount Etna, said the new building looked “great”. She used to go to the market every week. She was anxiously awaiting the reopening and was there to stock up on favorite items on Friday.
One product that is currently missing is the famous doughnut on the market. They should be back later this week after the ventilation hoods are installed on the fryer, said Yoder, who took over the market from Caleb Stoll during the rebuild.
The market is open every day from 8 am to 5 pm except Thursday and Sunday. It’s a hybrid of a hardware center, grocery store, and bakery with a plethora of items made in the surrounding Amish community or made in Maine. But if you want to shop, leave your credit card at home and only accept cash or checks.
Laurie and Brian Arsino Went to the market for the first time on Friday, bought a variety of items and was impressed with the low prices. They lived in Mount Vernon and were participating in the Common Ground Country Fair in the area when they decided to stop. An aunt introduced them to the market last year, but they didn’t have a chance to visit before the fire.
The overall look of the storefront remains the same, but the front porch is a bit wider and the bakery at the back a bit bigger, with a new layout for shoppers to use inside, Yoder said.
One can peer into the bakery and see the hustle and bustle of workers producing a wide variety of baked goods.
Products throughout the store range from practical to whimsical. There are axes, tools, boots, baking supplies and spices. There are also locally made desserts: pies, breads, cookies and fudge in flavours ranging from raspberry to maple.
Last winter’s fires quickly engulfed the building, billowing smoke that could be seen for miles and left employees watching.
But it didn’t take long for the Amish community to begin cleanup and rebuilding efforts, and the wider community showed support — many donating to the construction efforts.
Although the state fire chief’s office investigated the fire, the cause could not be determined. Yoder said the fire started near the boiler, so it was thought it might have been caused by a malfunction.
In the new building, several changes were made for fire protection. The boiler was moved outside, fire-resistant insulation was used, and it was covered with Styrofoam instead of being exposed as in the old building.
Standing in the new space Friday, Yoder thanked those who contributed to the rebuild.
“I absolutely want to thank the town, the community for their attention and help, especially donations,” he said.