Founded by a mother-daughter duo with their husbands in May 1998, Moody’s Gifts in Waldoboro is celebrating more than 20 years as a family business.
Nancy Genthner, daughter of Moody’s Diner founders Bertha and P.B. Moody, and her daughter, Mary Olson, started the business in May 1998 with their husbands, the late Wayne Genthner and Greg Olson.
“The diner was getting more popular and was selling things like T-shirts, mugs, keychains, and hats … people just loved it,” Mary said. “And around that time, Mom and I talked about how fun it would be to have a gift shop.”
At the time, Mary and Greg had four children, ages 4-13. “We felt the gift shop would be very family-friendly,” Mary said. “It would be a job that the kids could come with me to and help out.”
The Olsons’ five children are still involved with the business to varying degrees, Mary said. Jasmine McNelly, the eldest daughter, paints and sells wooden buoys under the name Buddy’s Buoys, while Abigail Braley and her husband, Alex, make jewelry, cutting boards, and birdhouses that are sold at the shop.
Boone Olson, who used to sell drawings at the shop for a quarter when he was very young, now makes and sells plasma-cut metal saws, Mary said.
Samantha Norton and Kyle Olson help out with other duties at Moody’s Gifts, such as keeping inventory and pricing items, Mary said.
The shop carries many Maine-made items that locals might not know about, Mary said. Popular items include lampshades crafted from recycled thermoses, which are made by a woman in Jefferson; candy from Safe Harbor Confections, of Waldoboro; and jewelry from Maine Shellware in Bangor.
However, much of the gift shop is devoted to merchandise for Moody’s Diner.
“We started with very few T-shirts and mugs,” Mary said. “Now we have 13 different Moody’s mugs and so many things with Moody’s on it.”
Much of the shop’s back wall is filled with T-shirts, drink ware, keychains, and other items bearing well-known Moody’s sayings like “When I get hungry, I get Moody,” “Pie fixes everything,” and “I’m a Moody person.”
People frequently purchase the T-shirts and send photos of themselves wearing them to the diner for display on the walls, Mary said. The photos show people wearing Moody’s apparel around the world.
“The gift shop markets the diner well. It all just comes together,” Mary said.
Moody’s Gifts employs six people in addition to Mary and Nancy, who is still very active at the shop at age 84. She can be found behind the counter or signing copies of her cookbook, “What’s Cooking at Moody’s Diner: 75 Years of Recipes & Reminiscences.”
With more than 20 years in the rearview, Mary said the customers keep her looking forward to working at the gift shop.
“We have people who live here who will bring their friends in when they visit, and then we have people who return every year,” Mary said. “You get to know them and you get close with them, and that’s really what I love.”
For more information about Moody’s Gifts, find the shop on Facebook or go to moodysdiner.com/gifts.