by Emily Burnham
of The Weekly Staff
Two new businesses that are set to open in downtown Bangor in the coming months will offer one-stop shopping for new parents interested in natural birth and baby care.
Maine Cloth Diaper Company, currently located on Central Street, will move to a new, larger location at 35 Main St., where owners Betsy and Zeth Lundy will offer an expanded selection of clothes, toys, nursing supplies, equipment and other baby care items, as well as a space to offer a full schedule of parenting classes.
Also, in early 2016, Bangor will gets its first non-hospital based birthing center, as Close To Home Birth Center, owned by certified professional midwife Chris Yentes, will open at 214 Hammond St.
Betsy and Zeth Lundy, who opened Central Street Farmhouse in downtown in 2010 and purchased Maine Cloth Diaper company from its original owners in Oct. 2013, knew they were outgrowing their space on the second floor of 30 Central St. earlier this year.
“Six months or so ago I was helping a customer try on baby carriers, and you literally had to turn sideways and shimmy past a car seat to walk. I said, ‘OK, this is getting ridiculous,’” said Betsy Lundy.
With the 3,000 square foot space, formerly home to several hair salons, Maine Cloth Diaper Company can now offer plenty of wiggle room, as well as a regular space for the many classes it already offers, including educational sessions on nursing and early pregnancy, support groups for mothers and other parenting topics. Most importantly, the store can expand its selection of baby goods.
“One of my goals is to help parents create a full registry for baby shopping,” said Betsy Lundy. “There’s lots of categories for baby stuff, like cribs, blankets, strollers, nursing supplies. Right now, a mom has to go to Amazon or Target or a big box experience to get everything. Here, you can complete an entire registry with a local business, with the help of people who know about all the products.”
Just as Maine Cloth Diaper Company is opening, certified professional midwife Chris Yentes will begin work on opening Close to Home Birth Center, slated for an early 2016 unveiling at 214 Hammond St., formerly the home of Cakes by Jan.
Yentes has worked as a midwife in the Belfast and Bangor areas for more than 20 years, with First Light Community Midwives. Though she has delivered countless babies in the homes of women throughout the region, Close to Home will be Bangor’s first-ever natural birthing center. The center will provide prenatal, birthing and postpartum care, and other medical services sought by pregnant women and new mothers anticipating a healthy, normal pregnancy, who wish to give birth in a natural, non-hospital-based setting.
“I wanted to offer more options for women. Women need more options when it comes to birth,” said Yentes, who will still offer home births in addition to births at the center. “And not every woman is ready for a home birth, but they also don’t want to go to a hospital. A birth center offers a good middle ground.”
Yentes will work with her husband, Jonathan Fulford of Artisan Builders in Monroe, to renovate the 127-year-old building to be more energy-efficient and to run on solar power. When it is complete, it will house two birthing suites, complete with water birth tubs, facilities for appointments and meetings, and space for midwives, doulas and family members to rest.
“It will be very homey, very comfortable. It’ll be a whole new look for the building,” said Yentes. “We are also hoping to create a building that will be exemplary in terms of the standards of energy efficiency.”
Yentes already is accepting clients for pregnancies due in February and beyond. To track the progress of the building’s renovation, visit facebook.com/closetohomebirthcenter.