BAR HARBOR — Julie and Greg Veilleux had done their homework and developed a detailed business plan, so they were cautiously confident that Window Panes, the home and garden store they opened in downtown Bar Harbor would be successful.
Their confidence was obviously justified because the store turns 25 today, June 20.
“We’ve always tried to offer some fun and functional unique items,” Julie Veilleux said. “We don’t want to have a lot of products that a lot of other businesses are selling. We want everything to be refreshing and eye-opening for somebody when they come in the store.”
Greg Veilleux said a key to their early success was immersing themselves in the community, serving on various boards and committees from the start.
“We found that by doing that you become a valuable part of the community,” he said.
Julie said they wanted to cater to year-round residents, summer residents and visitors.
“I think our product mix really shows that,” she said. “And I want everybody who comes into the store to feel like there’s something they can afford.”
The Veilleuxs said there are people who have been visiting Mount Desert Island on a regular basis for 20 years or more, and they always stop by Window Panes.
“I really makes us feel good when we know that a visitor from Philly or Atlanta or New York City makes a point of coming into our store,” Greg said. “They don’t always buy something; they just come in to say hello. That tells us that what we’re doing is right.”
Julie said that, after 25 years, she and Greg still love what they do. “And we’re constantly trying to stay fresh and exciting.”
In recent years, Greg said, they have been focusing more on carrying local products, which for them, means products from somewhere in New England or the neighboring parts of Canada.
The Veilleuxs give a lot credit for their success to Alice Clair, the store’s manager, who has worked at Window Panes for 20 years.
“She’s great about staying on top of the products and being tuned in to the details,” Julie said. “And she takes great pride in putting together some of the in-store displays.”
Clair also helps Julie choose the merchandise to carry.
“They are tremendous buyers,” Greg said of Clair and Julie. “They buy product that sells.”