When Maine Cloth Diaper Company co-owner Betsy Lundy walks around her new retail space at 35 Main St. in downtown Bangor, her eyes sparkle. She excitedly points out her plans for every foot of space, which is about three times larger than the current store. The first-floor storefront is bright and cheerful. Lime green and aqua walls create a welcoming, modern vibe, complemented by historic brick walls and a light hardwood floor.
When husband and wife duo Betsy and Zeth Lundy started their company nearly five years ago, they wanted to create a community-oriented, “beyond retail” business. They called it Central Street Farmhouse.
The first floor was a retail and classroom space for do-it-yourself beer, wine, cheese and yogurt supplies. The second floor, a cozy haven for new and veteran moms alike, morphed into Maine Cloth Diaper Company after the Lundys purchased the store in 2013 and moved it from Damariscotta to Bangor.
Since then, they’ve outgrown the space. Within the next few weeks, Maine Cloth Diaper Company will move to the new storefront that offers more than three times the amount of retail space and includes space for classes, a LeLeche League lending library of books about everything from breastfeeding to sleep to natural parenting.
Lundy also hopes to start carrying larger items, such as cribs, strollers and larger toys — merchandise she’s always been able to order but never display in the smaller space on Central Street.
“Our goal now is to have a place where someone can make a complete registry,” Lundy said. “Right now, there are no other options than big-box stores. We’re still going to try to carry the best … with a natural focus.”
The current MCDC space on the second floor of the Central Street location will be renovated into a dedicated classroom for classes and workshops for Central Street Farmhouse.
In a memo about the upcoming move, Betsy and Zeth Lundy said the move is bittersweet, since their combined store has been part of the business model since Day One.
“Where else can you find a babywearing expert mom who can also talk lager fermentation, or an avid homebrewing dad who can help you choose the right cloth diaper for your lifestyle?” the memo said.
Lundy said CSF and MCDC offer a boutique shopping experience, where staff can offer firsthand experience using the products they sell.
“I’m always amazed at how many people think they have to shop at a big-box store,” she said. “Places like Bye-Bye Baby and Amazon have pushed out the knowledgeable boutique retailer.”
Despite separating the two businesses into different locations, Betsy said she and Zeth will continue operating as a linked family of small businesses and that, philosophically, nothing with their business model will change.
They also expect their customer base of DIY and environmentally conscious consumers to stay the same.
“People in Maine have an undercurrent of earthy crunchiness. … And even if they aren’t particularly earthy or crunchy, there is an appreciation of those things,” Lundy said.