WELD — Across the street from the new Post Office and Town Office, The Hatchery is a drawing card for year round residents and summer visitors alike. The store carries a wide variety of items including kayaks and paddleboards that can be rented or purchased.

Co-owner Mark Schneider said he and Dawn Girardin bought the property in 2003. There was a larger house, where the couple now resides, plus a mother-in-law’s house. They began working on the smaller building in 2004.

Before renovations were started, the back shed was unfinished – the boards were not even nailed down and there were very few windows. A wrap around porch doubled the building’s footprint. Lots of windows were put in to add light to the two stories too.

When looking out a back window, one can see another building on the adjacent property. In the early 1900s, the local fish and game club raised fish there and released them in the brook out back. The couple opened their business in late summer, 2005 and named it The Hatchery for the historical connection.

Authentic hammocks woven by local Mayan Indians on the Yucatan Peninsula are carried. One large colorful one on display “Can hold an entire family, up to 700 pounds,” Schneider said. 

Girardin said their store is the only place around that carries the authentic hammocks. They often bring back new stock when visiting that area as shipping is quite costly.

The Hatchery carries items from about 30 artisans. “Some have just a few items and others a lot,” Girardin said. Most of those consigning items are from Franklin County.

A large number of items come from foreign countries. Mexican offerings include tiles plus bowls and canteens made from gourds. Beads from Ugandan as well as African and Indian jewelry can be found on display. In another corner, items from Russia, Ecuador, Peru and Argentina are showcased. Indian saris add a vivid splash of color to one interior wall.

Sweaters from Peru, many of them made from alpaca wool, can be purchased. A Christmas tree in one corner holds imported ornaments.

Antique furniture is offered as well as books both old and new. Books of poetry by Henry Braun and works from Laurel Hill may be purchased.

The second story is filled with vintage clothing, children’s items, and framed black and white prints. A Churingo Australia print catches one’s eye while climbing the stairs. The bright paint dots on black leather are a traditional style used by the Aboriginal people.

One table on the porch is covered with copper items. Also found on the porch are antique kitchen ware and dishes, chairs and sofas. Handmade stuffed toys, cards, and wooden burl bowls can be found inside.

Hand carved fish, birds and wooden decoys created by Jim McGill of Carthage are still being made available by Joan McGill since his passing last March. Artwork by local authors may also be found. 

Customer Jane Dyer said, “This is such a fun place. It has all sorts of treasures.”

The Hatchery also sells or rents kayaks and paddleboards. Schneider will deliver and retrieve rented items anywhere on Webb Lake. For a fee, he will also deliver to Wilton.

Girardin said, “people stop in to sit on the porch and talk. Everyone has been so nice.” Visiting The Hatchery gives people something to do when on vacation here. “It keeps the town a little bit livelier,” Girardin added.

Newly arrived business cards state: “Enjoy all the Weld area has to offer, but be sure to visit THE HATCHERY before you leave!” A scene of Webb Lake and the distant mountain range fill the rest of that side of the card.

The Hatchery, 20 Mill Street, Weld, is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in July and August. It is closed on Sunday, but available at all times by telephone for kayak and paddleboard rentals. It will be open Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in September.

For more information, call 207-585-2130; check out the website, www.thehatcheryinweld.com; or visit on Facebook.

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