The Unique Boutique focuses on community, looks to expand
After her sophomore year at Wiscasset High School, Elizabeth Rose, an emancipated teen, headed to Texas thinking she knew it all. She did not. But Rose said her early independence helped prepare and inspire her to open The Unique Boutique, at Marketplace Plaza.
“As someone who was so young, I had no opportunity, being so small age-wise, experience-wise, business-wise. So The Unique Boutique itself is a vendors' market. It could be items, it could be groups, or workshops. I'm an opportunity-sharing location.”
She got the keys to the 1,500 square foot, leased space Oct. 16, had a Nov. 15 grand opening she said went "awesome," and now has nearly 30 vendors. The consignment part of the business has household items and clothes and more for the whole family, including maternity and pet goods, Rose said. She calls one section a “brotique.” On a recent day, it had tools and tire rims.
Pebble artist Tim Monfort of Westport Island said the business has been nice to work with, including helping him price his nature-themed works.
Rose said she is “a modern country person,” and entrepreneurial. She is a wellness advocate for Doterra essential oils, and she homesteads with eggs, vegetables and more. A few years ago, she had a small consignment shop, mostly of children's goods, in Damariscotta. She sold it and when the buyers had a life change and looked to shut it down, she agreed to take back the inventory and racks as remaining payment on the sale, she said.
For her new business, she said, “I wanted it to be kind of an experience, like a hodge-podge of everything.” She figured others would like to sell on Route 1, too, and starting with just the stock from Damariscotta, she had plenty of room for vendors. She got on Facebook. “And I said, ‘Hey, kind of like an all year craft fair. Who's got what? Let's sell things together.” And since she and fiance Travis Lincoln, owner of BADMOON Motorsports & Fabrication in Wiscasset, have two children each, her heart pulled toward opening a play space for young families, she said.
“Kids have a big role in our family. I kind of think this coastal stretch has elderly retired or young families ... And I wanted to cater to young families.” The months-old business helped six families last Christmas, buying them gifts with funds raised from selling items people chose to donate rather than consign. Rose explained, “When folks do that the sales (go to) helping the community when needs arise!”
This fall, Rose hopes to expand the business into vacant space next door, to add to the play space, expand its age range and have more event space. Asked about five years from now, she said: “I see us being a go-to, larger full-family consignment shop as well as a go-to for vendors, and for tourists getting gifts, so just bustling and busy, and a great community resource.” Rose is looking into a possible farmers’ market this summer.
Wiscasset's Rebekah Turner runs the play space for Rose and is a partner in consignments Rose does as a vendor. Every Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon is a free playtime in the play space. For details, call the shop at 207-242-5539.
The business is open Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and may expand to summer hours. Find The Unique Boutique on Facebook