PEPPERRELL — On May 1, The Barn Door will swing open, revealing a new, Tuscan-inspired, general store.
Brenden Mahoney, the owner of Able Landscaping, created the new shop next door, along Route 119 at 51 South Road, to bring the community together and provide excellent customer service.
“I want to be able to take care of people’s outdoor living, indoor living and their stomachs,” Mahoney said, looking toward the newly constructed outdoor, stone pizza oven.
Mahoney said he learned to take care of customers properly while working the concierge desk at the Fairmont Copley Plaza while attending Northeastern University. He said the front counter in his new store is his concierge desk.
General Manager Stephen Dahlgren emphasized their desire to partner with businesses in the community. He said The Barn Door will not sell produce to encourage patronage of Wilkin’s Farm and Greg’s Farm Stand across the street.
“We want to work together,” Dahlgren said. “We don’t want to be seen as a competitor. We want to be seen as an additional draw to the community so we can all benefit.”
Dahlgren joined the project in March, bringing a wealth of knowledge from his career in purchasing and sourcing in the gourmet-food industry. His last job was purchasing for a gourmet cheese shop.
He has always aspired to open his own business, and Mahoney offered him the opportunity to operate The Barn Door as if it were his own. Since Dahlgren was hired, they have worked closely to refine the original vision.
Although they did not know each other before this collaboration, they have formed a close relationship.
“We work well together and align very similarly on many aspects of work and life,” Dahlgren said. “It is a blessing to work with Brenden. He is dedicated, caring, honest and with a vision and determination to do what he says.”
While selecting the store’s merchandise, Dahlgren seeks one-of-a-kind items that are not easily found in other stores or online.
“Everything has to have a story,” he said.
In the home-decor area, he shows where pottery from Muddy Room in Lexington will be available. The pottery is made by a woman who does not do production pieces, opting instead to make each piece individually.
There will also be pillows and tea towels from Pillows and Things in Clinton, all natural soy candles made by a local couple, and soaps made in Groton.
Prominently displayed throughout the store are gourmet foods. A wooden sign advertises imported and domestic cheeses, which excites Dahlgren when he’s asked about it.
“Oh, we’re going to have cheese,” he says, emphasizing his desire to source domestic cheeses from New England.
Baskets hold authentic dry Italian salami, while shelves hold dry pastas and sauces imported from Italy. Coolers offer grab-and-go meals from Joseph’s Catering in Woburn, hummus and spreads from Magic Bites in Arlington, and pasta salads from Bombay Duck in Acton.
Mahoney transformed the building from a former tack shop, which he purchased from Louise Taylor three years ago. A stone veneer is prominently displayed on the front facade and on a waterfall that greets visitors. Mahoney hopes it will be a subtle way to attract clients for his hardscaping business.
In addition to a fully functional outdoor pizza oven, Mahoney has added an outdoor fire pit, and plans to add two bocce courts with the hope of creating a bocce league. There is also space for a community garden with compost made on site.
As the business ages, The Barn Door hopes to add a basement wine cellar. The basement has been wired for surround-sound and will have tables to host different activities, whether meetings, cheese and wine tastings, or paint nights.
In time, they also hope to utilize the back room on the first floor as an antique showroom.
While they are opening during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Dahlgren said they have been proactive in protecting their clients. The store has been laid out in a way to prevent people from getting too close, and many of the activities they have planned will not start immediately.
He also said they will be receptive to the public and its needs.
“The most important thing is making people feel comfortable,” Dahlgren said. “This place is for the community.”