Wanser's hosts first Business After Hours of the season

Posted:  Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 2:00pm

Wanser's Natural Market was packed the evening of April 29 for the first Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours of the 2015 season. The event was a joint effort between Wanser's Market, Wannawaf and Pine Cone Firestarters.

“Cherie (Scott) talked us into it,” said Kate Winslow, who owns Wanser's along with her partner, Steve Wanser-Termine. “It's a good way to introduce ourselves to the community before summer gets crazy.”

Wanser's Market specializes in Maine-made product, the more local the better. The also carry a wide array of gluten-free and organic products. They focus on buying local (wine served at the event came from Oak Street Provisions, and beer from the Boothbay Craft Brewery), and have partnered with local growers and entrepreneurs to carry products, such as Elaine Waldron of Hootin Gluten Free Bakery in Damariscotta, Mary Norwood of Merry Auld Teas in Boothbay, and Stephanie Guite of Southport, who has created a link of “Lebenhelfer's Elixirs,” also known as shrub.

The elixirs come in various flavors, including strawberry, blueberry, lavender, pineapple and ginger. According to Guite, the fruit is mixed with raw apple cider vinegar and is cold-pressed to create a kind of tonic that “brings balance to the body.”

“Too much alcohol or fast food can mess with the body,” Guite said. “My favorite is the lavender.”

The elixirs are shelf-stable and all organic, and are available for purchase at Wanser's Market.

Norwood started her tea company in September 2014. A longtime friend of Nancy Elaine Hilton, who ran MacNab's Tea Room along with Fran Browne, they had planned to create a line of teas together before Hilton died suddenly in June 2014.

“I decided it was time to take the next step,” Norwood said. “Jeff Browne (son of Fran Browne) was an enormous help to me.”

Anya Heyl and Richard Reid, business partners in Wannawaf, made all the food for the event. They said they worked hard to create food that reflected the aesthetic of Wanser's: organic, fresh and local. Just some of the food included chicken kebabs, homemade hummus, and a local green salad. Heyl and Reid also served up mini ginger milkshakes with banana waffles, a Wannawaf specialty.

“We're about to open for our 13th season,” said Heyl, who is also owner of Pine Cone Firestarters, a new business she started this past winter. “Last year was our best season ever and it almost didn't happen. Every day I'm grateful.”

Multiple door prizes were handed out, including local honey and tea, Wannawaf gift certificates, and boxes of Pinecone Firestarters.

“I'm grateful for the support of the chamber,” Winslow said. “I'd like to also thank Mary Norwood and Stephanie Guite for being here. I hope people in the area will continue to visit us, and, if we don't have what you are looking for, please ask so we can get it.”

Business After Hours are open to both members and non-members of the chamber. The next ones are at the Rocktide Inn on May 19, the Boothbay Sea and Science Center on May 27, and the Newagen Seaside Inn on June 10. Guests can register to attend by visiting www.boothbayharbor.com or calling the chamber at 207-633-2353.