Shiretown Office Emporium opens on Bangor Street

14 years ago

ImageHoulton Pioneer Times Photo/Joseph Cyr
NEW BUSINESS — Hal and Heather Maker of Houlton have opened a new office/art supplies store in Houlton. The Shiretown Office Emporium celebrated its grand opening Friday.

Houlton couple hopes to find niche with office, art, teaching supply store 
By Joseph Cyr
Staff Writer

HOULTON — Finding the right niche for a new business is often the key to whether a new venture succeeds or fails.
    Heather Maker of Houlton believes she has found just such a niche with her new business venture — Shiretown Office Emporium. Along with her husband, Hal, Heather Maker’s dream of opening her own store is now a reality.
    “We had a ‘dry open’ Monday [July 12] and will have our grand opening Friday [July 16],” Maker said. “We are truly family-owned and operated.”
    Located at 70 Bangor St. at the intersection of Bangor Street and Florence Avenue, Shiretown Office Emporium offers a wide array of office, school and art supplies. Filling the shelves of the store are stacks of copy paper, markers, and numerous educational tools for teachers to use in the classroom.
    “We were looking to fill a void here in Houlton, where your average working family could go for school and office supplies,” she said. “I’m really excited about the art supply aspect of the business. We haven’t gotten a lot of our art supplies in stock yet, because I am waiting to talk with more artists. My aim is to keep products that they need and use.”
    A former administrative employee at Houlton Regional Hospital, Heather Maker said she first started thinking about starting her own business last August. While on medical leave to mend a broken wrist, Maker said the business plan kicked into high gear.
    “We had some life-changing events with my husband when he came home from Afghanistan,” Maker said. “We gave it a lot of thought and decided this was the direction we wanted to go in.”
ImageHoulton Pioneer Times Photo/Joseph Cyr
SPECIALTY ITEMS —Heather Maker shows off some of the specialty items that can be found at her new business, Shiretown Office Emporium.

    While her husband, who serves in the military, is a silent partner in the business, her sister Holly Ross works in the shop. The two siblings got their first exposure to the business world working in the their parents’ restaurant, “A and A Sub Shop” in Houlton while in their youth.
    “We’ve had people come in and say they remember our parents’ shop and we thought about going down that route, but we wanted to do a business where the need was there,” Maker said. “We want to be a real family operation. I think it’s going to be bigger than I anticipated. It’s a really exciting time for us.”
    Maker admitted she is not a salesman, but is blessed with the “gift of gab” and plans to use that gift as she visits local business, seeing if her store can help fill their office supply needs.
    Crystal Grant rounds out the staff of three who will run the day-to-day operations of the new business. The Makers have two children, Meghan, 17, and Alexandria, 10, who will also work in the store.
    Shiretown Office Emporium is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about the business, call 532-3030.