Pam Shockley of Westport Island has had a dream for many years of opening a small gift shop featuring strictly Maine-made, handcrafted items.

This dream seemed more distant in the difficult economy of recent years, until she had the opportunity to speak to the vendors on the Creamery Pier in Wiscasset. Shockley found this to be the lowoverhead, high-traffic venue that would enable her to carry out her plans. She described her business plan to four friends in fall of 2011 and decided to open in spring of 2012.

The reaction? “Not without us!”

Shockley had an 8-foot-by- 12-foot shed planned and built. Friends each made a small investment toward rent and other expenses and everybody got busy producing craft items for the shop. The core group of craftsmen/investors along with Shockley, are Anne Cole-Fairfield of Westport Island, Kathy Closson of Wiscasset, Diane Fitzmaurice of Topsham and Linda Estabrook of Bowdoinham.

The group also invited other artists and craftsmen to join them as consignors to expand the variety of items offered.

The Maine Craft Shack opened Memorial Day weekend with the work of 21 artists and craftsmen. The business had an active summer and sales have far exceeded expectations.

The Maine Craft Shack will be open daily through Oct. 8 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather permitting.

One minor drawback to this venue is that rain and wind present problems for a building this small, but days have been rare when the shop was unable to open.

The shop offerings include fine art and jewelry, soap and candles, wood turning, bird houses and feeders, American Girl doll clothes, stylish and cuddly fleece accessories, baby items, dog and cat gifts, hand-knits, kitchen accessories, comfort packs and cool ties, sea glass and folk art.

The variety of businesses on the Wiscasset Pier offer a destination for lunch and shopping: Frank and Linda Sprague of Sprague’s Lobster have been operating their lobster and take-out business for 14 years. Bob Jones operates his potters wheel and sells his Raku-fired pottery while Ron Leeman of Forgotten Recipes offers a wide variety of jams and relishes made from his grandmother’s 100 year-old recipes.

These established businesses have been a great encouragement to the “new kid on the block,” The Maine Craft Shack.

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