Route 27 holds a special place in Katherine LaMontagne’s heart. As a child, she traveled summers from Boston to Boothbay Harbor to spend time with her grandparents John and Natalie Richardson.
Each excursion north was a two hour-plus ride in a yellow Volkswagen with her parents. But once her parents reached Route 27 in Edgecomb, it triggered a special response in her. “It was the almost there feeling. I had amazing memories of Boothbay Harbor summers sailing in that antique sailboat. I’ve always wanted to live here,” she said.
LaMontagne is doing more than just visiting the Boothbay region. She is now living here. LaMontagne and husband Mo LaMontagne bought a Route 27 property where the boutique and their home are located. Katherine is a clothing designer and had run her own shop in Massachusetts since 1987. But the coronavirus epidemic took its toll on her business which prompted her to downsize her operation. The economic downturn also became an opportunity to consider moving to the place she longed to live.
“There was such a huge overhead in Holliston (Massachusetts) so we decided it was time to downsize. So we sold our home and two business properties, and moved to Maine,” she said.
The new shop is a small boutique at 788 Boothbay Road. The LaMontagnes spent most of last year renovating the property. Her boutique is a former machine shop garage. This spring, with some of Mo’s friends, the garage was renovated into a boutique. “My husband’s golf buddies came up for two weeks and surgically removed four feet of the building’s perimeter. It was rotted out and needed replacing.”
As a designer, she enjoys “creating beautiful things.” As a salesperson, she sees how much people enjoy her work. “I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces seeing the beautiful things in my shop,” she said.
Another advantage to moving to Edgecomb is how close her work is to her home. Her house and boutique are on the same property. “It’s a short commute. I can just walk to the shop,”she said.
She designs and creates much of the clothing and jewelry she sells. It’s a small operation and she also serves as a salesperson. “It’s a great set-up. Merchandise is in the front, and out back is where I design,” she said.
LaMontagne has spent her entire career in clothing design. She studied clothing design and her first professional job was pattern maker. In 1987, she decided to open her own place. “At 27, I decided to work on my own and opened a small studio. Later, it grew into a small shop, and after that, it became a large boutique.”
She said her specialty is creating and selling “one-of-a-kind” items. Her shop is full of handmade jewelry, clothing and various other items.
LaMontagne may have changed her boutique’s location, but the name remains. Kamala Boutique can be found on Facebook and other social media. She has used the name for nearly three decades. “It’s the first two letters of each of my names. Katherine Mary LaMontagne (KAMALA),” she said.
While her Edgecomb shop is new, she said her past work still has a large presence on social media. “I just starting out here, but I have quite a presence online with Kamala,” she said.
The boutique opened Nov. 18, and she wasn’t sure everything was in place when the doors opened. “It was right up until the day before everything was ready,” she said. “I’ve seen a few customers who bought something, and returned a few days later, so I think it’s going well.”
Kamala Boutique is open seven days a week. Monday through Saturday store hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sundays, from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. She is looking forward to a brisk Christmas shopping season. “The shop is full of wonderful gifts whether it’s clothes, jewelry, candles, greeting cards, baby bibs and soaps. Most of it is handmade so it’s a great place to find unique gifts for any occasion."