Crystals, culture and community: Liquid Sunshine evolves with the times

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Crystals, culture and community were the starting points for Liquid Sunshine nearly thirty years ago.

FARMINGTON – For nearly thirty years Sue Gordon has been filling the sidewalks of Main Street and Broadway with the heady scent of incense from her store, Liquid Sunshine. Countless people have sifted through the beads, clipboard in hand, piecing together necklaces and friendship bracelets. Thousands of Birkenstocks have walked out the door. Drums have been carted home, and millions of gems have been held tight for guidance, clarity and protection.

“It started with a love of crystals and culture and community,” Gordon said.

From the one store in Farmington grew three locations of Liquid Sunshine “sister stores” primarily all with the intention of boosting the life of the Western Maine spot. With a tough economy, and a full staff to think of, Gordon started her Camden and Kennebunk stores to help make ends meet. Kennebunk’s Zen and Company was always intended to be a summertime store, catering to the coastal tourists. But the shop took off, and soon Gordon realized it had been a while since she’d stopped in at the Farmington spot.

“I would walk in and wouldn’t know the costumers’ names, which is what it was always about for me. They weren’t just my customers, they were my friends,” she said.

The recent announcement that the 165 Main Street location would be closing its doors was an organic one that has brought a number of things full circle, Gordon said.

Though the closure likely wouldn’t have happened if the pandemic hadn’t, in Gordon’s opinion, it’s been a blessing.

“Covid has allowed me to stop and reevaluate, like so many others, it’s allowed me to take inventory of my life and reprioritize some things.”

Last summer, as Gordon began thinking of reopening Liquid Sunshine, she realized that her staff members had all moved on in positive ways, and had “landed in great spaces” with new passions and pursuits.

“It was a very organic process. And then Paul gave me a call and asked what we were going to do, so I had to make a decision. It’s taken me a while, and is still taking me a while,” Gordon said.

Paul Mills owns the building that Liquid Sunshine has existed in, and said he is looking forward to bringing in another retailer, though he’ll be sad to see Gordon go.

“I can’t say enough great things about Sue Gordon,” he said.

In addition to her stores, Gordon runs a pitbull rescue organization, NovaStar Rescue, that has been taking more and more of her energy and time.

“It’s another thing that has come full circle. We used to live in Arkansas where we dug for crystals, and we were always feeding these little homeless dogs,” she said.

Now Gordon cares for the homeless dogs of Arkansas by transporting them across the states to Mainers who are looking to adopt. Adoptions have doubled with Covid, she said.

“Farmington will always feel like home. As soon as I land there, I know it’s where I belong. I do see myself having another store there at some point, but I don’t need 3,000 square feet. I’m hoping to offer something smaller, cozier and more intimate to the community,” she said.

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