By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,608)
“I prefer cooking for dogs over people because dogs are more grateful. They wag their tails at me, ” said Karen Smith, laughing as she took a break from setting up her new business on Exchange Street in the Old Port last week. Smith expects The Gourmutt Beastro & Barkery to open up Wednesday (not Tuesday as previously reported herein) and sell mouth-watering freshly made treats and dog food from human grade food.
Smith, a retired R.N. with a B.S. in business , both from UNE, started her business three years ago selling her food products wholesale as well as at Fairs, such as the Fryeburg Fair. She wholesales to Fish & Bone, Commercial Street and to several dog-friendly hotels in the area. One is the Portland Harbor Inn and the other the new Westin Hotel in downtown Portland. Sales are so good that she decided to start her own retail business in a prominent location so more dog lovers can take advantage of her healthy products. Smith’s treats are made of peanut butter, a substance that is good for dogs and which they love. She uses no sugar in them, but decorates them professionally with yogurt and bakes them on site in her new “Barkery” at 8 Exchange Street.
Smith also makes prescription dog food in cooperation with the dog’s veterinarian. She uses fresh fruits, veggies and fresh meat and fish, including Alaskan salmon where warranted. “The Chinese are killing our dogs,” Smith said. “Pet food makers buy the cheapest ingredient they can find either here or abroad. They buy bone meal, process it and put it in pet food. Beef by-products is code for crap. Then they add preservatives and chemicals,” said the attractive Smith. Don’t forget to check out the “Yappy Meal” special holiday offer as well!
All dogs and their owners are welcome to browse here, but “children must be on leashes,” Smith says, that big grin crossing her face once again. She and her husband have two adult daughters.
For the holidays, Smith expects to be open seven days a week from 10 am until 6 pm. Sundays she will be open from 11 – 4 pm. For more information, please call 828-5200.
Sherman’s Books & Gifts will be adding its fifth store to 49 Exchange Street on April 1, 2014, according to co-owner Tori Curtis in an email to mhn.”The store itself will have the same categories of products as the four others (books, gifts, stationery,) but will have a very different look and feel to it and will feature more handmade and locally crafted goods. Similar to what LL Bean did with capitalizing on its deep history…, we hope this new store will symbolize our deep love for Maine and help us share our story about who we have been in the past, who we are now and where we want to be in the future,” the email continued. “Sherman’s has four other book stores in Maine and I’ve been to them all. They are in Bar Harbor, Boothbay, Camden and South Freeport. They all have large book inventories,” said Mr. Mole, mhn’s business consultant in the Old Port, who has been introduced in a previous post.
“I’ve never seen so many changes in the 13 years I’ve been moling the Old Port. It’s unprecedented. The regulars are getting lost. Where did J. L.Coombs go they ask,” said Mr. Mole. “Maybe it’s because of all these boutique hotels being constructed in the area. I heard that some landlords will only rent to chain stores rather than start-ups to reduce the number of turnovers. They used to be incubated here; not so much any more. But don’t quote me on that though,” he said before disappearing back down his hole with his favorite Local Brew in snout.