MOUNT DESERT — Practically anyone who has ever shopped at the Kimball Shop Boutique on Main Street in Northeast Harbor knows Elizabeth Halpern.
That’s a whole lot of people, because the boutique opened 31 years ago, and Halpern has been there the whole time.
The original Kimball Shop and the Kimball Shop Boutique, two doors down, are both owned by Nancy Ho. When she opened the boutique in 1988, she asked her friend Elizabeth, whom she had known since they were both six years old, to run it.
“It was just a natural thing for me to start this for her when I was still teaching [in Hampden],” Halpern said at her retirement party at the boutique last Friday.
“It has worked out well, and I’m going to miss it terribly. I’ve continued to love selling and love the customers.”
And judging by the smiles, laughter — and a few tears — of those who stopped in on Friday to wish her well, the feeling is mutual.
Halpern grew up in Northeast Harbor and got her start in customer service as a high school student, working as a soda jerk in her father’s drug store on Main Street.
“I’m waiting on a lot of the same people or their children now,” she said. “It’s really amazing.”