THE INSIDE SKINNY ON… Bell Farm Shops!
If we say the words “beautiful red barn in York, Maine”, does a certain image come to mind? Perhaps a specific building on Route One that sits on a piece of land that seems to go on for miles, and is surrounded by lush gardens and vibrant greenery?
Welcome to Bell Farm Shops—a former antique shop that’s recently been transformed!
This week, our special guest is Michelle Corgan, the new owner (along with husband John) of Bell Farm Shops…
Tell us all about your shop, Michelle!
Bell Farm Shops is a true gift shop experience—we sell everything from home décor items and garden accessories, to greeting cards and wild bird supply! We specialize in gifts for people of all ages and interests—whether it’s a gift for Father’s Day, a child’s birthday, or a hostess/housewarming gift! Our store is one that you can linger in and walk through multiple times, only to discover new treasures during each visit.
How did Bell Farm Shops come to be?
Bell Farm Shops was originally built in 1988 as an antique shop, but my husband John and I took over the business in January 2018! We were living in New Jersey, thinking about our future, and realized how much we craved nature, the beach, and a more laid back lifestyle.
We discovered Portsmouth a few years ago and fell in love. John was able to continue working remotely, and I left my corporate sales job to make the move possible. Though I needed a job, I wasn’t ready to go back to corporate life, so I tried my hand at a few things like dog walking and custom sign making. I was able to find work, but I wanted something that was a little bigger (Boy did I find bigger!), and offered more opportunities, so the idea of starting our own business started to become part of our daily conversation.
At the time John and I moved to Portsmouth, we were newlyweds. My favorite part of our wedding planning process was looking at the beautiful venue options. Naturally, our first thought was to purchase land that we would turn into a wedding venue. We didn’t find anything in the area that really spoke to us, so we changed our search to look at existing businesses for sale. Once we changed our search, we learned about Bell Farm Shops. Although running a storefront wasn’t necessarily on my radar at this time in my life, I immediately knew it was meant for us.
Bell Farm Shops is situated on a beautiful piece of land with idyllic perennial gardens, so not only would we be able to run an amazing retail shop, but we could also host events on the gorgeous grounds—the best of both worlds! We saw the opportunities as endless and were fortunate enough to take over the shop last January.
What kind of items do you offer at Bell Farm Shops?
In terms of everyday items, we offer gourmet pantry goods, bath and body products, and many essentials for home and garden, such as beachy home décor, wall art, seasonal décor, bird feeders, and gardening tools. For gift items, we offer a selection of candles, barware, greeting cards, and more!
What do you most enjoy about your business?
There are so many rewarding aspects of owning the shop—helping a customer decorate her home or garden, finding the perfect gift, or figuring out a way to finally combat the squirrels! In addition to all of the amazing customers I meet (who are seriously awesome), I feel so fortunate to be working with my lovely employees and local suppliers; it has given me a sense of community that I am truly thankful for.
What excites you about summer at Bell Farm Shops??
We are holding more classes at the shop this summer! I specifically can’t wait to have Yoga on York hold yoga classes on the green again. It’s an all-levels class that they run on the back of the property outside. It will be held every Saturday this summer, from 9am-10am, starting on May 25th.
Keep on the lookout for upcoming events, happenings, and classes on Bell Farm Shops’ website!
Thank you Michelle!
Photo credit to Michelle, @northsouthpr (top photo), and @paulcorgan.