A “whimsical” new addition opened at 77 Main St. in Newcastle on June 9, as Amanda “A.J.” Kras established a brick-and-mortar location for her botanical and gardening store, The Beach Plum Co.
Kras started The Beach Plum Co. as a natural skin care business six years ago. She sold products online and in shops on Cape Cod while she continued to work as a senior associate at an architecture firm in Manhattan.
With her various projects and commitments, Kras said the company “struggled a bit in the beginning,” as she was not able to devote as much time as she wanted to selling the products.
“We were focusing a lot of the marketing in Massachusetts,” Kras said, her husband’s home state. “We always thought we would end up there somehow,” she said.
Instead, the couple found their way a little further north. Each year for their anniversary, the couple would take a trip to Maine. They drove through Newcastle on Route 1 during their first trip and her husband commented on how “cool” the town was, Kras said.
“We realized about five years ago that this was always where we wanted to come,” Kras said. “A few years ago we found our home and it ended up being right here in Newcastle.”
After a summer of working remotely for the architecture firm from Maine, Kras decided she wanted to stay in Newcastle.
“I realized I didn’t want to go back and that I loved being here,” she said. “I spent the next six months or so figuring out how I could stay here before deciding to take a risk, leave my job, and focus on the store.”
Knowing she could not only have eight products for the store, Kras slowly began to add more. She curated a collection of botanical, gardening, and outdoor items consistent with the natural theme of her skin care products. She looks for unique items difficult to find elsewhere.
“A lot of this is what I own and use already, so I felt comfortable selling it,” Kras said. “But a lot of it is also finding items that fit the aesthetic. I love creative, whimsical, and fun products that are useful.”
As inventory grew, however, Kras was faced with a new challenge. “I was shipping everything from my house and there wasn’t enough room, so it was either rent storage space or get a store,” she said.
Kras spent six months searching for the ideal brick-and-mortar location. She initially considered purchasing property, but came around to the idea of renting when she found the perfect space in Newcastle.
“I walked in and there was just a moment of ‘this is it.’ I just loved it,” Kras said.
After spending a few months assembling cabinetry and ordering additional inventory, Kras opened The Beach Plum Co. storefront June 9.
“The area’s really going through a revitalization, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” Kras said.
In addition to The Beach Plum Co. and its neighbor in the same building, Belle Jolie, the little downtown has a raw bar, Shuck Station, open for its first full season this year, and will welcome a consignment shop in September.
The reception from the community has been supportive and positive, Kras said.
“There are some people who have come in and you can tell it’s not what they expected, but I feel like I have something for everyone,” she said. “I’m not sure the store is for everyone, but I think everyone will be able to come in and find something, whether it’s for themselves or a gift for someone else.”
The Beach Plum Co. is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The hours are subject to change, depending on community events or customer reaction, Kras said.