The Working Waterfront

Update from Isle au Haut: store is thriving again

New pavilion provides place to eat, enjoy view

Test Journo
Posted 2017-10-02
Last Modified 2017-10-02

By Rachel Harris

The board of directors of the Isle au Haut Cooperative Store wants readers to know about our latest community developments.

We just completed our first year hosting the Lobster Lady food truck business, which served lunch on the store property. The arrangement benefited both businesses and, together, created a waterfront hub for the community.

The store already has free Wifi and a few picnic tables and, this summer, people gathered with refreshments from the store and sandwiches from the Lobster Lady to enjoy each other and the view.

A few weeks ago, the store added a new pavilion to the scene, thanks to the hard work (in the rain) of architectural students from the Island Design Assembly. They created an additional seating arrangement with shade and flexible seating to use the internet connection, have lunch, or just hang out.

The store sponsored the pavilion construction from profits; yes, the store is profitable since installing a point of purchase computer system, along with assistance from fundraising via the Isla au Haut Triathlon. This yearly event has participants swimming a half-mile in the pond, biking eight miles, and then running/walking the final four miles.

Funds also were raised from a Fourth of July annual barbecue which follows the island’s beloved five-minute parade and is the largest social event of the summer. With volunteers, the store organized servers, grills, and salads. The local Union Congregational Church also benefited by selling strawberry short cake for dessert and its new cookbook, Recipes with Family Histories Celebrating the Love of Island Life and the Future of Our Community.

The board’s mission is to support the store to serve the community and so it also sponsors, along with the church, “Tuesdays Table,” a free, and increasingly elaborate, dinner at the store, open to the entire community. From mid-October through March, Tuesdays Table brings in up to 30 people, all crowded into the small store, filling up aisles, sitting at a few tables, and chatting away. Again, volunteers prepare the salad, main meal, and, of course, dessert.

Each of these events supports the development of the store, and now the waterfront hub—also known, tongue in cheek, as the “Isle au Haut Mall.” It’s become an aesthetic and social center of the community. The board hopes to add live music concerts in the future and develop the landscaping next spring.

 Rachel Harris is secretary of the Isle au Haut Cooperative Store’s board of directors.