WEST ATHENS — What do rural West Athens, Maine, and urban Brooklyn, N.Y., have in common?

Well, Peter Freeman, for one thing.

And fresh, farm-raised produce for another; both of which can now be found at the Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, opened by Freeman in June at the corner of Henry and Sackett streets in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood.

Both Freeman and the restored century-old storefront are to be featured in an upcoming episode of “Construction Intervention,” a show on the Discovery Channel.

The show features New York City construction guru Charles Franttini and his crew as they make over old places and make them like new again.

Amy Hagovsky, director of communications at the Discovery Channel, said recently that the show was filmed and is in the production loop, but a date has not yet been set for the broadcast.

Freeman’s place received a $465,000 makeover from the “Construction Intervention” team and is now open and operating, serving egg creams, sodas, shakes and sundaes, along with fresh fruit and vegetables.

His mother, Anna Freeman, says Peter Freeman, 33, was raised in West Athens and graduated from Madison Area Memorial High School in 1995.

came back the next day; she interviewed him for three hours — he poured his heart out.”

After working as a landscape artist and gardener in Hawaii, Peter Freeman landed in a top-floor Brooklyn apartment with another central Maine guy, Jake Cirel, who was already living in New York City and whose roommate had just moved out.

Downstairs from the apartment was a former pharmacy that was in business for 100 years, but had been shuttered for more than a decade. The old place was loaded with vintage mortars and pestles, pill bottles, tools and machines and had original tin ceilings.

It had glass and wooden shelving, an ornate soda fountain, a tiled floor and a vintage scale that offered both a horoscope and your weight for 5 cents.

“Peter noticed on the ground floor there was this store that had junk in it; piles of newspapers. It was dirty; it was filthy,” Anna Freeman said. “And he got this idea that he could do something with it. Peter got this idea of having a soda fountain, having a community store where he could sell fresh produce, locally made food, crafts. He wanted to maintain the integrity and the beauty of what the old pharmacy was.”

Peter Freeman became friends with the retired pharmacist and building owner and started cleaning up the old place. He convinced the owner to lease him the shop.

“The Farmacy is two parts,” Peter Freeman said in a recent telephone interview from New York. “One part is the soda fountain. If you know anything about the history of Brooklyn there were always soda fountains around here; every corner had a candy shop, a soda fountain; you get an egg cream, you get a malt and a place you can hang out and there’s kids there and neighborhood people.

“Then on the grocery side, I wanted to be kind of a relevant food market to shop for things that are made locally or buy things directly from farmers. That’s what I’m trying to be is relevant.”

When Freeman went to the city for permits to fix up the building, he was told the structure was in bad shape, requiring thousands of dollars in repairs, Anna Freeman said. She said she mortgaged her modest West Athens home last winter to help get her son started on his dream.

Freeman’s sister Gia Giasullo, 43, soon joined the team and began helping out as a partner in the business.

The residential neighborhood has an elementary school just three blocks away, parks, families, restaurants and cafés — perfect for a community shop with penny candy, pickles, strawberries, breads, pastries, homemade potato chips and, in season, Maine fiddleheads, Anna Freeman said. The shop also carries items knitted by Freeman.

One day, while mopping the floor, a woman pulled up to the shop and called out of her car, asking Peter Freeman if he was renovating, his mother said.

“She introduces herself — she’s the casting director of ‘Construction Intervention’ — she just happened to be in the neighborhood,” Anna Freeman said. “This is two days after he told me he had hit the wall. She came back the next day; she interviewed him for three hours — he poured his heart out.”

The interviews continued as other family members and friends arrived. Finally The Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain was approved for the show and the work was done on the shop during a five-day period.

“It felt like validation — that what we were doing was the right thing, the right place and we were the right people to do it,” Peter Freeman said.

“To me, what happened to us was a miracle,” his mother added. “There was something about the karma, about this kid having this idea, not giving up, working at it, being desperate. They saw the true love that he has for community, health, food. It’s a blessing.”

As for the West Athens connection, Peter Freeman said he is treating the Brooklyn building he leases as if it were his own place in rural Maine.

“It’s like a woodcutter; you’re going to cut their land like it’s your land,” he said. “That’s Maine. That’s how Mainers are — I’m going to do the best I absolutely can and try to create the best product. That’s what gets me by. That’s what separates you, that’s how you can get by, actually by being a Mainer, by being from West Athens.

“I’m not pulling any fronts. If you’re from West Athens, you’re always going to be from West Athens. What kind of airs are you going to pull?”

Doug Harlow — 474-9534

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