St. Francis mother and daughter open clothing store in Fort Kent
FORT KENT, Maine — A St. Francis mother and daughter officially opened Labels LLC, a clothing store, in Fort Kent on Saturday.
Jolene and Kaylee Gardner offer new and used clothing for women and men in the old Miller’s Department Store building.
The new shop offers women’s clothing in sizes 0-24. New brands in stock include Levi’s Silvertab jeans for women, clothing from Bee Attitudes, an organization that supports survivors of sex trafficking, and Tagua jewelry, which is made out of sustainable nuts from Ecuador.
The men’s line at Labels is limited at this time, but the owners said they intend to expand upon their offerings in the coming months.
Labels also provides gently worn consignment clothing in men’s and women’s sizes, including a small selection of prom dresses. Jolene Gardner also offers alteration services at the site.
The Gardners said they aim to add to the Fort Kent shopping experience to the benefit of consumers and local businesses alike.
“It’s not a competition; the more little shops we have in Fort Kent the more people will make a day of coming to Fort Kent to shop and eat at restaurants,” said Jolene Gardner, 44.
The mother and daughter have selected their inventory with customers and other business owners in mind.
“We aren’t offering Wranglers because Tech and Trenz has it,” Jolene Gardner said. “We chose not to include a children’s line because Little Daniel’s Den was already available.”
Melanie Hartt, owner of Little Daniel’s Den said it makes sense that local businesses work together.
“I’m glad to see their new business come to town, especially one seeking to fill a need for the community,” Hartt said. “In order for small businesses to survive, not only do they need customers but they also need the support of other small business owners. While Little Daniel’s Den focuses on children’s clothing, many of my consigners have told me they wished for a place locally to sell adult clothing. Now they have a place, and I’ll be happy to send business to Labels.”
Jolene Gardner said she and her daughter began tossing around the idea of opening a clothing shop in town about 8 years ago. They began exploring the idea in earnest last fall, and by February had applied for and received a small business loan from the town of Fort Kent.
Kaylee Gardner, 22, is a 2014 Fort Kent Community High School graduate. Along with being a new business owner, Kaylee currently studies part-time at the University of Maine at Fort Kent where she majors in business.
The mother and daughter are close and live together in their family home in St. Francis along with Jolene’s husband and Kaylee’s father, Dana Gardner, Jolene and Dana’s son Nicholas Gardner, 16, and Kaylee’s 3 year-old son Alex.
The entire family has helped to make Labels a reality.
“My dad’s been here doing construction work and he built the dressing rooms so it’s been a fun family effort,” Kaylee Gardner said.
“Nick comes by and helps. He does whatever we need, lift racks out of the basement or wash windows,” Jolene Gardner added.
The family also includes son Scott Gardner, 18, who lives in Portland and who Jolene Gardner said has offered invaluable encouragement throughout the business opening process.
Labels also will feature a small selection of refurbished furniture by Kixsie Art, the owner of which is local artist Shelley Bruey.
Labels is located at 143 West Main Street in Fort Kent. Business hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.,; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit the Labels Facebook page.