“This shipping container has been a great place to get started. We are ready for the next step,” said Monica Danforth, shop manager of Mulxiply/Campfire, in one of the units of the retail black boxes at 93 Washington Avenue on the east end of Portland.
Today was the last day of the boutique’s Washington Avenue occupancy and a storewide sale was attracting customers looking for bargains despite the rainstorm outside. The owners of the boutique are preparing to relocate to a much larger space at 5 South Street, west of the Old Port.
March and April will be spent building out the new space to accommodate more products for an opening that is expected to occur in May. This larger space will permit display space for a new product line: Ember, a new jewelry line. It will also permit the owners to display the work of emerging designers.
Danforth, from Farmington, is a junior in the BA Studio Art program at USM. Many of her classes are remote because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, she is enrolled in an in-person ceramics class in Gorhman currently. She is developing her own jewelry brand: Bad Fox Collection.
The black box complex was the brainchild of former developer Jed T. Harris of the J. J. Nissen building. He recognized the need for young business owners to try out their concept without investing heavily initially. It’s viewed as incubator space for entrepreneurs looking to get their feet wet in the complex world of business – especially today.
However, lost in the history of this building is the story of the wealthy Elizabeth B. Noyes and her role in saving J.J. Nissen from moving out of state. Betty Noyes, was the divorced wife of Robert Noyes, the ultra wealthy discoverer of the chip and the founder of Intel Corporation in California. After 21 years of marriage and four children, they divorced when she learned he was having an extra marital affair. Eventually, he married a much younger woman who was an executive at Intel.
In the settlement, Betty, a Massachusetts native, took title to the couple’s 50 acre estate in Bremen and moved back to the east coast. By California law, she also took half of the profits of the computer giant Intel. In Maine, she became the state’s premier philanthropist with her great wealth. She is remembered for preventing a takeover of the bakery on Munjoy Hill that would have moved the major employer in the area out-of-state, Betty came to the rescue as she did on so very many occasions for the people of Maine. One of her many significant legacies was the creation of a foundation; the Portland based The Libra Foundation. It was administered by her attorney. She died in September of 1996 at the age of 65 years old. She was a smoker who suffered from emphysema.
For more background information, please visit posts herein dated August 13, 2018 and February 6, 2021.