and Anne O’Connor
TOWNSEND — Townsend Harbor’s historic Cooperage building, operated as a group shop with the name “Julie’s Nostalgic Nest at the Cooperage,” will open for business on March 1.
Under new manager Julie Harris-Fisher, space will be rented to dealers offering a wide variety of items. “Customers will be able to find really old things, as well as more modern pieces,” Harris-Fisher said.
The familiar gray building, on the bank of the Squannacook River beside the dam and waterfall, is owned by the Townsend Historical Society. Its unique architecture and interior have drawn customers for antiques and collectibles for many years.
In the distant past, wool cloth was woven and finished there. A planing mill occupied the space, and later barrels were manufactured, giving the building its name as a “cooperage.”
A six-sided fireplace, built for use by the coopers, has survived. In the center of the building, it offers an attractive historical note to the interior. A vintage horse-drawn hearse with glass windows, stored in the Cooperage by the Historical Society, offers customers another view into the past.
“My family has been helping me get the building and its surroundings ready for business,” Harris-Fisher said. “A tree had to be cut down, and a railing was installed by the door. Booths are being created in very interesting ways, and the spaces are filling up fast,” she added. “I hope to include local dealers in the shop. Right now several of those with booths come from only ten miles away. By opening day customers will have many, many things to choose from.”
Harris-Fisher is looking forward to working with other dealers and with the Historical Society in the future.
“I have a hundred ideas,” she said. When the planned flower and vegetable gardens grow in, a formal tea, with fancy dress might be in order.
Partnering with other antique dealers in the region is part of her marketing plan. Antiquers often spend entire weekends visiting shops; she would like to develop a map and organize weekend events.
Harris-Fisher ran 639 Consignment in Fitchburg before it closed a couple of years ago. She is looking forward to connecting with old and new customers.
“Every customer may end up entering as a stranger, but by the time they leave, they’ll be a friend,” she said.
Julie’s Nostalgic Nest at the Cooperage can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/juliesnostalgicnest/.
Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter and Tout @a1oconnor.