LEWISTON — Kim Caldwell was burning out from a decade of working in health care when she saw an inspirational quote on Instagram a year ago:

“Flowers make people happy.”

She wanted that.

Caldwell and her husband, Rick, who’d been coming downtown weekly for years to eat and attend events such as Art Walk LA, formulated a business plan, scouted real estate, bought the former Gil Poliquin building at 50 Lisbon St. and, earlier this month, officially opened Heirloom Arrangements.

“Our mission is to make people happy,” said Caldwell, 37. “In Maine in particular, I feel like winter’s very long and here we are starting it extra early, and there’s something hopeful and refreshing (about flowers). This just helps bring that nature indoors.”

Last year, thinking about her next career move, business ownership seemed like an enticing option, she said. The Auburn couple both loved what was happening in downtown Lewiston, so something in retail there felt like a natural fit.

“We were weekly brunchers at Marche (and) Orchid is our favorite restaurant,” Caldwell said. “It has a place near and dear to our heart and we love seeing new businesses pop up. It’s a great little network of people all really in it together with the same mission to bring Lisbon Street back to its former glory.”

Heirloom Arrangements is a mix of old and new: Customers can choose between flowers in a traditional glass vase or pick one of the antique vases, pitchers, jars or bottles the Caldwells have found at estate sales and antique shopping. The idea with the latter, she said, is to have a gift when the flowers are gone.

“My mom always had this gorgeous Depression glass pitcher that was her grandmother’s that I always wanted, so when I got married, I got the pitcher and she threw tulips in it and it was beautiful and wonderful and I got to sit there and admire it for a good week,” Caldwell said. “That’s the feeling I want to offer and share with others.”

Arrangements start at $5. The cost of adding an antique vessel starts at $15 extra.

Caldwell offers same-day deliveries and a subscription service to businesses that have busy front desks and want a fresh arrangement each week or restaurants after fresh table displays each week.

She also sells cut flowers to carry out and take home and design on your own.

Since people calling to order arrangements aren’t choosing from a pre-set list — she and the customer talk flowers and budget and design from there — Caldwell said she’ll shoot a photo of the arrangement to the customer before making the delivery.

“There’s definitely a learning curve with that, as well as small-business ownership and, to a smaller degree, the art of floral arrangement,” she said.

The first floor of the building still resembled a doctor’s office when they bought it in May, dated but with good bones, Caldwell said. She and Rick undertook most of the renovation work themselves.

They recently received city permission to replace the Gil Poliquin Hearing Aid and Optical Center sign with their own.

“The work upstairs is quite a project,” Caldwell said. “It’s been vacant since the ’40s. It’s got a lot of dusty character up there.”

Their three- to five-year plan is to create three or four apartments upstairs.

Heirloom Arrangements is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Caldwell said someone recently asked about her comfort with risk after hearing about buying a building, opening a business and starting to embark on a new career.

“Apparently, it’s quite high because it’s a lot to take on, but I really don’t want to look back 10 to 20 years from now and wonder, ‘What if,'” she said. “‘Would we be happier, what would our life look like had we done that.’ For me, it’s more about do your best, try, get out there and be brave and see if it’s something that other people are inspired by just as much as we were.”

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Heirloom Arrangements is now open at 50 Lisbon St. in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Kim Caldwell has opened Heirloom Arrangements in downtown Lewiston in the former Gil Poliquin Hearing Center at 50 Lisbon St. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)


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