UNITY — An Amish store in Unity is attracting swarms of customers after reopening after a fire in January that destroyed the building.
John Yoder, the new owner of the popular Amish Community Market & Bakery at 368 Thorndike Road, described the reopening as “just amazing”.
With the charred remains of the fire as a distant memory, the new front porch — lined with handmade wooden chairs, produce and pots of mums — creates an idyllic Fall in Maine scene that invites shoppers to enter the market.
Sue Reynolds, who lives at Etna, said the new building looks “amazing”. She used to visit the market weekly. Eagerly awaiting the reopening, she was there on Friday to stock up on favorite items.
One product missing for now is the market’s famous donuts. They should be back sometime later this week after an extractor hood is installed over the fryer, said Yoder, who took ownership of the market from Caleb Stoll during the remodel.
The market is open every day except Thursday and Sunday from 8am to 5pm. It’s a hybrid of a hardware store, grocery store, and bakery with many goods made by the surrounding Amish community or elsewhere in Maine. But if you want to make a purchase, leave your credit card at home, only cash or checks are accepted.
Laurie and Brian Yacino Went to the market for the first time on Friday and picked up a variety of items, impressed with the low prices. They live in Mount Vernon and were in the area for the Common Ground Country Fair when they decided to stop by. An aunt had told them about the market last year, but they didn’t get a chance to visit before the fire.
Yoder said efforts have been made to maintain the store’s overall look, but the front porch is slightly wider, the bakery is slightly larger in the back, and the interior has a new layout for shoppers.
People can look into the bakery to see the hustle and bustle as the workers make a wide variety of baked goods.
And throughout the store, offerings range from the practical to the whimsical. There are axes, tools, boots, baking supplies and spices. And then there are the locally made sweet treats: cakes, breads, cookies and fudge in flavors ranging from raspberry to maple nut.
Last winter’s fire quickly engulfed the building with thick smoke that could be seen for miles, leaving staff with little to do but watch.
But it wasn’t long before the Amish community began the cleanup and rebuilding efforts, and the wider community showed support as well — many donating money towards the construction work.
Although the fire department investigated the fire, they could not determine the cause. The fire started near the boiler, Yoder said, so it’s believed it could have been a malfunction and the cause.
In the new building, some changes were made in terms of fire protection. The boiler was moved outside, fireproof insulation was used and the styrofoam was covered rather than left open as in the old building.
Standing in the new rooms on Friday, Yoder expressed his appreciation for those who helped rebuild.
“I definitely just want to thank the city, the community for their interest and help and especially donations,” he said.
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