Macadamia, a new boutique, has moved into Best Thai’s previous location at 74 Main St., Damariscotta, providing high-quality women’s attire in a variety of price ranges.
Emily Davey officially opened her business in the space across from J & J Jamaican Grocery on Friday, Aug. 20, after months of planning and renovation, supported by her 18-year-old Chihuahua, Ernesto.
Davey’s passion and vision for her clothing business is influenced by the boutiques she explored across New York City, where she spent much of her young adult life working as a forensic psychologist. However, her roots are in the Midcoast.
Growing up in Damariscotta, she spent many of her early years in the very space she now operates. Her family has owned the building since the 1990s, and she had a part-time job working for Boothbay Harbor Bagels when they leased the space.
“So this building is kind of part of me and I’m part of it,” Davey said at her shop on Friday, Aug. 27.
Davey moved back to Damariscotta from New York in the spring of 2020 and decided soon after that she wanted to open her own clothing store in the area. When Two Fish Boutique closed in the summer of 2020, she noticed that, beyond Renys, the town suddenly lacked an outlet for high-quality clothes for special events or the day-to-day, like T-shirts, jeans, and dresses.
“I wanted to offer stuff for people who are looking for a really nice dress and for people who are just looking for a basic (pair of jeans),” Davey said.
When Best Thai moved into its new location at 88 Main St., Davey jumped at the opportunity.
One of her goals with the business is to be conscientious regarding where her clothes come from and who makes them; Macadamia carries lots of American made and designed clothes, and mostly small brands.
While Macadamia currently only carries clothes for women, Davey intends to eventually start offering some menswear, as well, as she begins to get a sense for the local market.
While Davey’s shop currently presents with an organized, clean aesthetic, it took a lot of work to get it that way. The space experienced a lot of wear and tear as a result of being a food business in the past.
Among other improvements, she re-boarded, re-sided, and re-side an entire external wall of the shop, tore down the kitchen wall separating the kitchen from the rest of the shop, and painted the interior.
“Through the whole process I would think to myself, ‘oh, this next step is going to take me one week.’ No, it takes me four weeks,” she said.
Davey said that businesses in downtown Damariscotta were extremely supportive throughout the process of renovating and opening Macadamia’s storefront. She said that Scott and Deb Devlin from Weatherbird loaned Davey glassware for her soft opening party. Keleen Watson and Peter Ebanks at J & J Jamaican Grocery and Pongsakorn “Job” Hanjitsuwan at Best Thai next door have cheered her through the most laborious days.
As a monument to her efforts, a mannequin dressed in the clothes and apron that Davey wore during the renovation process sits in a corner of the store.
In terms of customer experience, the Damariscotta-native wants her store to be a welcoming and comfortable community space with couches and drinks, where shoppers don’t feel an overwhelming pressure to buy something and get out. COVID-19 transmission rates permitting, she’d like to open the space up to yoga instructors and offer morning yoga classes.
Just over a week in, Davey already learned a number of important lessons about running her own clothing store, some of it extremely practical.
“You need a stool. You need to sit, or you’ll be really kicking yourself,” she said.
However, she did have some sage advice for those that might be interested in opening a similar business someday.
“Be super present for how it all unfolds and what people are drawn to, not just with what they’re buying but with what you see them gravitating towards… and don’t be hurt if that’s not what you envisioned people wanting,” she added.
Macadamia is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Saturday, as well as from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Davey is also willing to open the store by appointment for those who cannot come in during those times or are concerned about COVID-19 transmission with other customers.
For more information or to set up an appointment, call Macadamia at 563-6838.