In Rebeca Garcia’s hometown of Madrid, Spain, one of the most popular summer fiestas is La Verbena de la Paloma, or the Virgin of the Doves, held in mid-August each year, featuring street processions, music, food and merriment.
It’s one of her favorite times of year, which is why when it came to naming her new shop in downtown Bangor, she chose Paloma’s Gifts to honor her Spanish heritage in her adopted hometown.
“Paloma is also Spanish for dove, and my husband loves birds, so it all just makes sense,” she said. “It’s things we both love.”
Paloma’s quietly opened last weekend at 78 Harlow St. in downtown Bangor, on the corner with Central Street. Garcia, who also owns Bangor Frameworks on Exchange Street, said it is the second part of a long-held dream to own her own businesses and showcase her creativity and that of others.
“I was a stay at home mom for 17 years, but I knew when it was time I wanted to own my own business and work with my hands,” said Garcia, who moved to Bangor with her husband, Robin, 21 years ago. “This is something I have always wanted to do.”
Paloma’s Gifts features a wide array of home goods, jewelry, candles, apparel, locally made food, accessories, decor and gifts sourced from 110 different vendors, most of whom are from Maine — although Garcia does have some items from Spain, including jewelry handmade by her sister. Items range in price and style from Rockland-made Bixby chocolate and Maine-made cards, to fine leather handbags made by Newport-based Janell Bags.
“I want things to be affordable for everybody, so there are things that are $3, and then there are things that are $300,” she said. “I really want there to be something for everybody.”
Garcia makes her own items as well, personalizing everything from T-shirts and aprons to mugs, tumblers and wall signs. She still makes items for athletic and other programs at Brewer schools, and has sold her goods at local craft fairs. Now, she’s got a place to showcase her work year-round.
With its wrap-around windows looking out at Bangor City Hall and down Central Street, 78 Harlow — formerly the home of longtime bookstore BookMarcs, as well as gift shop the Willie Wags — is an ideal place for retail. Garcia said she hopes to create a tranquil, calming environment in which to shop.
“I don’t want to overload people with products. I want to really pick out the stuff and showcase it right,” she said. “I’m just really excited to be a part of the downtown Bangor community.”
Paloma’s Gifts will host a grand opening celebration this weekend, beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 11. It’s a special weekend for Garcia, who worked around the clock this summer to have the shop open in time.
“It’s the weekend of La Verbena de la Paloma, so it’s really special for me and it’s the namesake of the store,” she said. “It’s a little bit of Spain in Maine.”
Summer hours for Paloma’s Gifts are Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, follow the shop on Facebook or Instagram.
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