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More in Business
Gem store to open in Opera House Saturday
NORWAY — A gem and mineral store, The Raven Collections, will open its doors Saturday, March 16, in one of the storefronts of the Opera House.
The Raven Collections will sell rocks, gems, mineral specimens, crystals, fossils and jewelry, says the store's owner, Darlene Dadian-Gray.
She said it's a "huge honor" to be one of the first tenants in the Opera House.
"I am really looking forward to it," she said.
More than five years after a partial roof collapse threatened the entire building, the Norway Opera House celebrated its official re-opening, March 1, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by more than 100 area residents.
"I almost cried at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, just because of the intense emotion from the town.
"It was beautiful to see that many caring people, that not only gave cash donations but time ... We feel so blessed to be a part of that."
Dadian-Gray said while this is her first time owning a store, she does have 14 years of experience in retail, beginning as a cashier and working her way up to store management.
Before owning The Raven Collections, Dadian-Gray worked as a department manager for Filene's, was an IT Telecommunication Specialist for Sysco Northern New England, an administrative assistant for Oxford Aviation Inc. and a technical services system analyst for Sysco.
According to Dadian-Gray, she was inspired to open a gem store by a long-time family-friend, David Pitt, a previous owner of Stones and Stuff in Portland.
She recently embarked on a buying trip throughout New England and hand-selected the items she will have in her shop.
Her shelves will be adorned with quartz crystal, amethyst, ammonite fossils, labradorite and fluorite, to name a few. Eventually she plans to offer more local items and feature local artists, she said.
A Massachusetts native, Dadian-Gray has lived in Oxford for nearly 10 years with her husband Ernie Gray Jr., and her two sons, Everett, 6 and Seth, 23. She moved to Maine 23 years ago.
For months, she and Ernie drove past the vacant storefronts and wondered what kind of business they could open that would be both unique and successful. Along with support from her husband, she said Norway's town manager, David Holt, was incredibly supportive.
"He kind of convinced me to go ahead and take the risk," Dadian-Gray said.
She said what drew her to the storefront was the building's character and history. It will be a nice place to showcase her "crystals and gems that took thousands of years to form," she said.
"This building is historical; what we are selling is historical," said Dadian-Gray. "It all really flows well together."
According to Dadian-Gray, there will be something at her store for everyone. Items will start at $1 and up.
"If I don't have it in the store, don't be afraid to ask," Dadian-Gray said.
In addition, Dadian-Gray plans to share her fossils and minerals at local elementary schools to get them interested in earth sciences and nature's beauty, she said.
"What we hope to do is help younger children begin a collection and also help those who have collections, finish them," Dadian-Gray said.
Currently, she only plans to run the one location, but may branch out to buying and selling her items through E-Commerce. She also plans to have The Raven Collections website up and running soon.
The shop will be open six days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, 12-5 p.m.
A grand-opening open house will take place on March 15 from 12-6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.
For more information, find The Raven Collections LLC on Facebook.