By Erin Place
NORWAY—A vacant antique store at the north end of Main Street in Norway was razed recently to make way for more green space for a local farmers market.
Everett Excavation of South Paris pulled down the former Norm’s Trash and Treasure at 79 Main St. on July 4 at the behest of Mike Cullinan, a partner in C &C Farms and Old Squire’s Farm Market. The building was located next to the two businesses and he purchased it when it went up on the market. A green space will be installed for the sister businesses to host their farmers market each week.
Cullinan said the green space is in response to his customers and promised that as long as he owns the property, there will never be a big box store or anything of that nature in the area.
“It’s what is called Upper Main Street and I’ll keep it with the respect and with the character of the street,” he said. “We’re not doing anything wild and crazy while I’m in the building.”
Cullinan noted what he believes is special about the business.
“One of the things that makes Old Squire’s Farm Market unique is, first off, it’s year-round. Secondly, it’s only local and Maine products. Thirdly, it has a dedicated inside location, which is good for both farmers and customers when it’s nasty out,” he said. “We know many people enjoy the experience of outdoor shopping for strawberries [and other produce]. We’re trying to enhance the customers’ experience having a location where we can provide that in good weather.”
As for razing the old antique building, it’s the first time Cullinan has had something demolished.
“We removed the building for safety’s sake,” Cullinan said. “No way I could rent it out. It just made sense to get the rid of the potential liability as quick as possible.”
On the contrary, he’s saved buildings by gutting them and rebuilding from almost the ground up, sometimes putting too much money into them, he said.
Scott Everett, co-owner of Everett Excavation, said once he began to tear down the building, he was surprised that there wasn’t some sort of partial collapse prior to the demolition because the structure had internal issues.
“Just like strawberries and corn on the cob, there’s certainly a season for everything,” Cullinan said about the building. “It certainly provided a lot of things good business for the life it was around.”
While most recently 79 Main St. was home to Norm’s Trash and Treasure, “locals of any time in the area probably remember it as Ryan’s Trading Post,” Cullinan said. He added Bob Pope had his barber shop there for a number of years.
“As a kid growing up in the area, I had hundreds of hair cuts in there,” he said.
Prior to removing the building, Cullinan invited members of the Norway Historical Society to come take a tour and snap some photos of the structure itself and any sort of artifacts they found inside.
C&C Farms made news recently when it was named the 2014 Conservation Farm of the Year by the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District. Cullinan was quick to point out that a producer with Old Squire’s Farm Market, Patricia Verrill of Harvest Moon Products, was bestowed the honor last year by the soil and water district. But he believes C&C Farm was named as such for its organic practices and becoming a member of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.
Basically as I understand it, they recognizes farms and farmers that have made significant strides to operating in the fashion that employs the best practices for ecological and environmental protection purposes,” Cullinan said. “In the previous year, we had with the assistance … of the USDA, [it] had conducted a nutrition management study and created a plan on how to properly maintain your hay fields. In our case, it’s all organic.”
As a result of the study, C&C Farm, which overlooks Little Pennesseewassee Pond in North Norway, erected feed stations, made more in-roads for organic solid waste management and implemented a rotating grazing strategy for the operation.
Currently, C&C Farm and Old Squire’s Farm Market are open from 2-6 p.m. Thursday, 3-6 p.m. Friday during the summer and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.