PARIS — One year after Bolster’s Decorating closed the doors of its store in South Paris, a new home decorating and goods business has opened in the same location.

David Robichaud with Ollie, his English Springer Spaniel and greeter for Oxford Hills Mercantile. In addition to his store duties, Ollie has become a daily visitor to Market Square Health Care Center located next door. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

“The essence of the shop is all about home goods,” explained David Robichaud, owner of Oxford Hills Mercantile. “It’s about repurposing, reusing, making new things out of old things. The lamps [we sell] are made out of recycled instruments or containers. It’s about keeping things out of the landfill, being responsible caregivers for everything we’re given in our lives.”

When Bolster’s Decorating’s owner Susan Morin decided to close her family’s business, she told the Sun Journal that her hope was to sell the building to a purveyor familiar with custom decorating who could continue serving its clientele established over 46 years.

Morin, her mother Nancy Rideout and partner Daryl Whitney could not have imagined a better prospect than Robichaud to set up shop at 9 Market Square. It has been an architectural and business staple of Paris’ historic district since it was built in 1852 and N. Dayton Bolster operated it as a village mercantile.

The garden shed at Oxford Hills Mercantile, a vintage home goods store that specializes in selling repurposed furnishings, interior design and gardening tools. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Robichaud has had career stints in floral, interior and landscape design. He has worked as a chef and event planner, and has been a collector of vintage household tools and furnishings for years. Most recently he operated a similar vintage home goods store in Rockland.

A resident of Maine’s mid coast region since 1984, Robichaud was looking for opportunities to transition to a community less dependent on the frenetic pace of tourism commerce when he came across the listing for 9 Market Square. He purchased the building early in 2023 and made the move – with an ample collection of antiques and objects that now reside on Oxford Hills Mercantile’s show floor and in its warehouse space.


Robichaud opened on Sept. 12, once he completed the electrical and plumbing systems and building improvements. Exterior signage had not even been delivered, but everything else was ready for customers so he took a breath, set a sidewalk A-sign and opened for business.

A birdhouse for sale that David Robichaud has decked out with pine cones, moss and birch bark repurposed from nature, a decorative crown mold and a spindle salvaged from a textile mill. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Oxford Hills Mercantile has a shop within the shop: Ollie & David’s features a coffee bar, moved and reinstalled from Robichaud’s previous home in Appleton, where he serves baked items he makes onsite, beverages and coffee from Pine Tree Coffee in Lincolnville. He also bakes gourmet dog biscuits There is a section featuring spices and teas, procured from Monterey Bay Herb Co.

Of the vintage home goods for sale, almost all were collected by Robichaud over the last 30 years, some specifically for resale but also much from his personal collection.

“This has been part of my plan, to scale back,” he said. “I knew I would have to divest of a lot of things. I’ve been the caretaker of these things for so long that now it’s time to [pass it on].

“I want to educate people, young couples, on how to reuse them. Not everything has to come from Pottery Barn. People come into my space and say how gorgeous it is, but it’s a process of layering as you go through life. You can furnish your entire home from a transfer station. You can use an old bike as a piece of art on your wall.”

Instead of being disposed of, an old clarinet was utilized to create the base of a unique decorative lamp. David Robichaud designed the lamp, which was constructed by a fellow craftsman, and the shade. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Robichaud’s services extend to helping others declutter and downsize. He may take boxes of old books off people’s hands, repurpose old and broken musical instruments into decorative lamps or and use old metal or tool bits to customize a decorative (and functional) birdhouse. He is also open to purchasing vintage household items for resale in his store.

“Sometimes a piece may have commercial value, although most of the time its greatest value is sentimental,” he said. “I acquire things through private sales, in part to include an item’s history.

The 8,800 square foot building has ample expansion allowance. Robichaud has set up temporary living quarters on the rear side of the first floor but will relocate to the second floor apartment he is building out, leaving an area where he can make vending space available for local proprietors to rent. He hopes to eventually establish a seasonal farmer/flea market in the parking lot for local food producers and crafters.

“I am here to be part of the Oxford Hills community,” Robichaud said. “I want to provide things that the community needs. And if the community sees a need for something, I will try to make it possible.”

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