TEXT BY TINA FISCHER
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRANDON PULLEN
In the six years since he started working on Norway’s Main Street, Brendan Colter has seen a Maine-themed apparel store, a microbrewery and taproom, and a gelato shop and cocktail bar that also serves pasta and paninis join mainstays, including a vegan-friendly eatery and a yarn and wine boutique. But there was no dedicated home-goods shop. “We felt people shouldn’t have to drive to Portland to buy a soap dish,” says Colter, who opened Brick & Mortar in 2020 with former business partner Adrienne Cote, then owner of The Tribune bookstore a few doors down. The pandemic timing presented a risk, he says, “but we felt the community would support it, and they have.”
One of four retail spaces in the commanding brick Norway Opera House, reconstructed after an 1894 fire that destroyed much of the downtown. After it fell into disrepair while under private ownership, the town acquired it in 2003 and began an extensive restoration. Colter worked in his space when it was occupied by luxury bag maker Rough & Tumble, and felt its soaring tin ceiling, bright-white walls, and large windows would make an ideal canvas for the full-to-the-brim shop he envisioned.
ABOVE The 19th-century brick Norway Opera House encompasses a gem shop, a yarn and wine boutique, a gift store, and the town’s first dedicated home-goods shop, opened by Brendan Colter in 2020.
“If it’s not beautiful, practical, and well made, it has no place in here,” Colter says. European and Japanese kitchen and garden tools and colorful linens, ceramics, and Emile Henry cookware top for-sale tables crafted by local woodworkers; vibrant pillows spill from an antique bureau’s drawers; geometric-patterned Dash and Albert rugs fill an aged trunk; and a weathered door, artful mirrors, retro wall clocks, and, curiously, a collection of vintage violins (Colter grew up playing and has an affinity for the instrument) decorate the walls.
ABOVE The 19th-century brick Norway Opera House encompasses a gem shop, a yarn and wine boutique, a gift store, and the town’s first dedicated home-goods shop, opened by Brendan Colter in 2020. Inside, artfully tossled displays fill drawers and cover tabletops.
Handwoven baskets by Norway Brewing Company co-owner Erika Melhus; delicately grained cutting boards by Gardiner’s Purple Shed Woodworks; hand-bound journals by Otisfield’s Pattison Paperworks; imaginative mixed-media works by Lovell’s Kimberly Crichton and Portland’s Annie Lloyd Witte; and seasonal bouquets by Colter, who grows flowers on his Buckfield farm.