SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Sisters Molly Damon and Emma Johnson have opened a new sweet and savory snack bar called Salt Shop at 360 Main Street in Southwest Harbor.
After Quietside Cafe and Ice Cream Shop relocated, Christina Stanley had been operating her business, 360 Main, out of the location. The sisters signed the shop’s lease, with Stanley as their landlord, on Jan. 1, less than a month before Johnson’s son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and her house burned down.
“We’ve had some major life changes,” said Johnson, who also works full time at The Jackson Laboratory, “but, being creative in a totally different way has been a great distraction.”
With Johnson’s business acumen and Damon’s creativity, the sisters say they have made a successful team. “My sister and I really complement each other. She’s got incredible ideas putting all the flavor profiles together. That’s not my strong suit,” said Johnson, who runs all the numbers, pays the bills and operates the point-of-sale system.
The new shop features baked goods made fresh daily, as well as a sandwich menu with distinctive ingredient combinations thought up by Damon. With the business, the sisters have tried their best to use eco-friendly and local products, from coffee made by a Maine zero-emissions establishment to offering other homemade baked goods made by a family member. They have also hired a team of locals to work in the shop.
Damon and Johnson named their eatery, along with other items on the menu, after family members and familiar places. Three years ago, their dad, Bert Sheldon Damon of Northeast Harbor, passed away from ALS.
“The name Salt Shop is familiar to us because our dad called his workspace ‘the shop,’ which was where he stored his boat in the winter, worked on traps and had lots of bait, which made it a salty place,” Damon said.
Money made from selling a particular sandwich on their menu will be donated to ALS research.
Repeat customers, who the sisters are grateful to have, come to Salt Shop for homemade beverages, sandwiches, salads, baked goods and ice cream.
“Without either of us, combining our strengths, this business would not be possible,” Johnson said.
For more information about Salt Shop, visit its Facebook page or visit www.saltshopswh.com.