Jolene and Patrick Fogarty stand behind the counter at A Little Mad Shop on 17 Rodick St. in Bar Harbor. ISLANDER PHOTO BY NINAH REIN

Gift shop owners renovate historic building



BAR HARBOR — A Little Mad Shop has moved to 17 Rodick St., where owners Jolene and Patrick Fogarty have renovated their antique dream home. 

With a passion for art, retail and all things whimsical, the Fogartys opened A Little Mad Shop at the Bayside Landing Plaza on Cottage Street in 2012, where they began to form more long-term goals.  

“It was always our dream to be around residents with our shop and live above it, but after opening in Bar Harbor we figured it would have to be a unique, unconventional situation to position us for that,” said Patrick, who eventually began exploring real estate options with his wife Jolene.  

In 2017, the Fogartys discovered that the old Rodick St. building would fulfill all their expectations for a new location, including attracting customers off the beaten path.  

“During the pandemic, we thought if we are going to keep doing this that we need to fight to make it happen and stay in town, so we eventually reached back out to the owner of the building,” said Patrick.  

Since the couple purchased the building in June of 2021, the Fogartys have spent months remodeling it. 

A Little Mad Shop on 17 Rodick Street in Bar Harbor.
PHOTO COURTESY OF A LITTLE MAD SHOP

Though the new owners don’t know exactly how old the building is, they were able to find the property on local land survey maps from the late 1800s and deeds of ownership dating back to 1901. During the excavation process, the couple found some newspapers from the 1920s in the walls and under the floorboards.  

“We found some old bottles and things that people wouldn’t see that we appreciate,” said Jolene. The couple incorporated the finds in the décor. 

From the outside, the building’s paint was chipped and some windows were broken. Throughout the years, some parts of the building were updated while others were not.  

“We knew that it was in need of some TLC for sure,” said Jolene.  

The previous owner, who owned the Cape Cod-style house for over 30 years, added a tower. To the Fogartys, there was something magical about the old building’s character that they embraced. 

“Mostly the main house, which includes our shop and soon-to-be living space, was taken down to the studs to get it to what we wanted. It basically needed a new skeletal system,” said Patrick.  

As they took down layers, the Fogartys were able to reveal the original structure of the building and preserved and repurposed some of it. During the renovations, the couple found the original front and back doors, which they put back up.  

“We have kept the original staircase in the shop to lead up to the second and third floors where we will be living,” Jolene said.  

The couple also found original wallpaper that they made into an image that now graces the back of their business cards.  

During the renovation, the Fogartys also replaced and reinforced everything from beams to electrical systems. “I’ve learned more about headers and footers and load bearings than I ever wanted to know my entire life,” said Patrick.  

The Fogartys have also added a new vacation rental in the back of the building, which they call, A Little Mad Stay. Since the previous owner had already converted the home’s conjoined shed into a vacation rental, they did not need to do as much to finish that portion of the building. “It’s separated enough that guests come right up the walkway out of the side of the house, so it’s really separate from the rest of the house, which is nice,” Patrick said. 

The building’s second and third floors, which the Fogartys will eventually live in, are currently down to the studs, but their downstairs gift shop has been open since Mother’s Day. 

For the Fogartys, having a small business, especially in Bar Harbor, has been a dream come true. “We’ve made a lot of sacrifices over the years and haven’t seen our family in the month of July for 10 years, so it will be nice for them to get a chance to come stay here,” said Patrick.  

More information about A Little Mad Shop and A Little Mad Stay can be found online at www.shopalittlemad.com. 

 

**This should have initially listed the physical address of the shop as 17 Rodick Street in Bar Harbor.

Ninah Rein

Ninah Rein

Writer at Mount Desert Islander
Ninah Rein, an MDI native, covers news and features in the Bar Harbor area. She is glad to be back in Maine after earning a bachelor's degree in San Diego from the University of California.
Ninah Rein

Latest posts by Ninah Rein (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.