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FREEPORT — When Sarah Legare started making purses for friends at her kitchen table, she had no idea her hobby would become a business that takes her all the way to the Emmys.
Fast forward 10 years and the Lewiston mom has expanded her business, EllieAnna, to a second shop at 114 Main St. in Freeport.
“We’re so much more than purses now and it’s amazing where this journey has taken me,” Legare said. “I never thought I would be doing this today, let alone being as successful as I have been.”
The store had a soft opening last month and will celebrate its grand opening Friday, April 26.
EllieAnna (named after Legare’s two daughters) carries a variety of locally made trinkets, apparel, candles, Maine-themed decor, jewelry, antiques and up-cycled vintage furniture.
“I absolutely love Freeport and I know that we are going to be successful here,” Legare said. “… I am excited to be a part of this community and we are really excited to meet new people and our new customers.”
Legare’s journey started out as a one-woman show.
In 2011, she set up a small boutique in her 250-square-foot shed and was in the midst of getting approvals from the Lewiston Planning Board when she got a call from a representative of the Emmys.
She didn’t win one, but close enough.
“Someone had called me from the awards show and said they loved my list-holders and they were looking for small businesses that were doing well but needed a little more help,” Legare said. “All of a sudden, I was having to make 800 of them.”
Legare enlisted the help of friends and family members to conquer the not-so-easy feat, including her grandmother, who is a seamstress.
Legare’s fabric-covered notepad holders were featured in gift bags for celebrities at the 32nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards in 2011. Legare and her husband even flew to Los Angeles to attend the awards presentation.
“It was such an incredible experience and my little business has taken me so many places,” Legare said. “It really is surreal we have come this far.”
Much has happened since that big sale.
The business quickly outgrew Legare’s shed, where close to 20 cars were lined up in front of her house on Christmas Eve in 2013.
“For a while it was a pretty neat experience,” Legare said. “I realized how successful this could be and it made sense to find a bigger location. I am one of those crazy people who thrives on retail and things being busy, so I loved it.
“We also needed an actual parking lot,” she added.
She found a larger space at 785 Main St. in Lewiston in 2014, and hopes expanding to Freeport will help put her small business on the map.
“Everyone comes to Freeport for L.L. Bean and the town’s unique shopping experience,” Legare said. “I am excited to now be a part of this town’s economy and I think the summer tourists will help this business become more successful.”
Legare said her business it isn’t all about the money, though. She’s proud her hobby turned into a boutique where locally made products are sold at affordable prices.
“I would rather sell locally made things at cheaper prices, so more people can buy items from our store … than marking up the prices so only a select few can afford it,” she said.
EllieAnna owner Sarah Legare in Freeport with her handmade list-holders, which were included in gift bags for celebrities at the 32nd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards.
Sarah Legare will celebrate the opening of EllieAnna, at 114 Main St. in Freeport, on Friday, April 26.