CARMEL — Whenever Sherelle McIntyre of Newburgh sees dandelions, she doesn’t see weeds, she sees beauty. “My family always had a thing for dandelions,” she said. McIntyre has taken that family affection and used it as part of the name of her new business, Fine and Dandelion, located at 4 Plymouth Road, in the village center of Carmel.
The shop, which she co-owns with her husband, Alfred, a 29-year veteran music teacher at John Bapst Memorial High School, is stocked with items she finds at yard sales and thrift shops. “I take other people’s ‘weeds’ and make something new and beautiful,” she said. Those items include pallet boards, used in the shipping industry, as a source material for handmade cupboards, old wooden shutters pressed into service for earring storage or a place to stash letters and old window frames to serve as wall art.
Her shop is agleam with china and glassware displayed in vintage cupboards and rustic shelving. One corner houses items with distinct Victorian overtones. A barn board on which MAINE is spelled out in twigs leans against an old three-wheeled bicycle strung with twinkle lights.
McIntyre’s husband fashioned the shop’s countertop from a antique ‘Christian’ door, with sides made of pallet boards stained in soft colors. The door even has a china doorknob — a place for the ladies to hang a purse while they pay for purchases, McIntyre said.
McIntyre and her husband bought the building, which previously had housed a thrift shop, in April. The shop opened for business on July 6.
“I was thinking this would be more of an antiques and vintage shop,” McIntyre said, “but I found that people were leaving with gift shop items such as candles, soaps, signs and homemade items. So I expect to add more of those items.”
Many of the items at Fine and Dandelion have been refurbished, or ‘upcycled,’ by McIntyre, including small pieces of furniture. She handcrafts ‘shelf-sitter’ painted signs bearing stenciled messages, cake stands fashioned from glass candleholders and venerable china plates, and lamps sporting ‘rag’ shades fashioned with strips of fabric in jaunty colors. She also crafts pumpkins of fabric with stems of cord. She even made the curtains for the shop windows, sewing them from burlap bags she had purchased back when the store still housed the thrift shop.
McIntyre credits her business adviser, Tom Gallant of Coastal Enterprises in Bangor, with walking her through every set of pros and cons that accompany starting one’s own business. “I almost backed out a couple of times,” she said. “I worried that the business might not attract enough customers.” But she put that worry to rest. “I didn’t want to have any regrets.”
McIntryre had ample exposure to the world of business before opening Fine and Dandelion. “I started as a hairdresser,” she said. She ran a salon for six years, acquired allergies to human hair and had to give it up. After that, she operated a daycare in her home. Then for eight years she worked as an accountant for Dysart’s convenience stores. But as one who loves to craft and decorate, she missed the creative aspects of life — making the thought of opening her own store especially attractive. “I wasn’t meant to sit at a desk,” she said. “I love decorating.”
She said the response to her shop has been very positive. “I love the idea of the village here. The village is awesome. I’ve had a really happy response from the Route 2 Antique Mall and The Old Newcomb Place antiques shop on Route 69. They send customers to me and are very supportive.”
“ I want people to know that it’s worth the trip to Carmel, that it’s not as far as it seems. It’s only 10 miles from Bangor. I think people will be surprised when they get here.”
Fine and Dandelion shop hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and Thursday through Saturday, and noon-7 p.m. Thursday. For information, call 848-3000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find the shop on Facebook.