New outdoor store aims for wide appeal 

MOUNT DESERT — Robyn Hanson grew up in Seal Harbor, as did several generations of her family before her, and she still lives on the same street where she was raised. 

As a girl, she often walked down to the gas station and garage on Main Street to get penny candy. 

Now, she and her business partner, Jamie Whitehead, have just opened Acadia Outdoor Center in that former gas station. They carry outdoor gear, maps and guidebooks, prepackaged food, gifts and cards, works by local artists and toys and games for kids. They also rent bikes, and next summer they plan to offer guided sea kayak tours. 

Inside the store is a Pugnuts ice cream and gelato shop and coffee shop. 

“My dream was to make something that would be appealing to the year-round community, the summer residents and the summer visitors,” Hanson said. 

The store is open every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the owners plan to keep it open all year. 

“I want to make it welcoming in the winter for local people,” Hanson said. “We plan to apply for a permit from the town for an indoor climbing wall.” 

This is a new chapter in Hanson’s career, following a number of years in public education. She has taught at Pemetic Elementary School in Southwest Harbor and at Ellsworth High School. Most recently she was director of special education for the Newport-area school district. She also was Special Olympics coach on Mount Desert Island for 12 years. 

“It was always hard to find places for my athletes to train or to just go and have a fun experience,” she said. “I really want to be able to do adaptive climbing in here [at Acadia Outdoor Center].” 

The opening of Acadia Outdoor Center follows by just a few weeks the reopening of the Naturalist’s Notebook on Main Street in Seal Harbor. 

“We now have two businesses right next door to each other that really cater to families,” Whitehead said. 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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