Jean’s Serendipity to change name, but will stay in the family

4 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — Katie Sloat is the new owner of Jean’s Serendipity after purchasing the business from her parents, Jean and Richard Sloat.

“Serendipity is the occurrence of an unplanned fortunate discovery which has become quite an appropriate name given the history of the business,” said Katie Sloat. 

In 1994, Jean Sloat had outgrown her in-home space used to sell crafts, wreaths and candles and purchased Sneakies across from S.W. Collins.  Over time, Jean added pottery, Dreamsicel cast art, Boyd’s Bears and other items before moving downtown to 72 Main Street in 1995 and renamed the business “Serendipity,” a suggestion from her mother Helena Lilley. 

In 1997, Serendipity for Kids opened next door, and was actually run by her children — Erica, Kristen and Katie Sloat, Robin Lincoln and Robert Kostanich — after they finished school each day.  Next, Jean Sloat opened Fish N’ Friends as part of the Main Street Emporium, which won the first-ever Business of the Year award given by the Houlton Chamber of Commerce. Finally, in 2000, Jean’s Serendipity and Fish N’ Friends relocated to their final destination at 79 Main Street, replacing the Rite Aid at that location. 

Katie Sloat told the club that Jean’s Serendipity stayed in business by adapting to the needs of the community. Some components like dog grooming and ice cream were popular for a while — then faded away — while others such as the pet store continue to draw customers from all over The County.

Katie Sloat said she will follow her mother’s example of adaptation going forward, with a number of changes planned for the downtown location. The pet store and kids toys will continue in the new business, but the remaining inventory is being liquidated to open up space for an indoor playground and art center. 

She plans to host art classes for kids, with anything from paint to stain glass to wood-turning. After the indoor play space is complete, she plans to add a cafe so parents and their children can get a bite to eat while they enjoy the space.  

The new business will be named Serendipitous Dragonfly, mirroring the title of her upcoming book and the planned theme of the kid’s play space. “

There is a lot of work to be done, but I’ve received very positive feedback from the community,” said Katie Sloat.