47 years later

Grasshopper Shop comes full circle with latest store opening in Belfast

Thu, 07/28/2022 - 2:15pm

    BELFAST—She barely remembers it, but nearly 47 years ago Sierra Dietz, the owner of The Grasshopper Shop,  used to play in a playpen in the window of The Grasshopper Shop’s original Belfast location on High Street.

    “I don’t remember anything about the first store, but I definitely remember being in the store’s second location where Chase’s Daily is now,” she said.

    Dietz, whose parents, Johanna Strassberg and Ken Schweikert, founded The Grasshopper Shop in 1975, is the current owner of the Rockland location and now, the newly opened Belfast store at 105 High Street.

    “My parents closed the Belfast store when they divorced, but I’m incredibly pleased to be back in Belfast,” she said. “I live in Belfast and have felt invested and part of the community for a long time. As a kid when the original Belfast store closed, it was my dream to come back and open it again.”

    In 1975, when Strassberg and Schweikert still owned the stores in the Midcoast, what consumers wanted was a lot different than it is today.

    “What has made the Grasshopper Shop different is how the store evolved over time, reacting to the customers' needs,” said Dietz. “Back in the late 1970s, they were selling wood stoves and macrame hanging baskets. Over time, they changed the merchandise to what the customers were looking for. Many of our long-time customers, the Baby Boomers, are at a point where they aren’t buying a lot of things for themselves but are spending more on their children and grandchildren. So, we’ve expanded our clothing and kids’ toy departments.”

    The Belfast store, is in fact, still expanding. Currently, it houses Maine-themed home goods, casual, colorful clothing, a kids’ section, soaps, note cards, and themed books.

    Dietz said the store is adding more merchandise, including tea, table linens, candles, more toys, umbrellas, wind chimes, and more clothing.

    “Other stores sell just women's clothing, or toys, or home goods,” she said. “We have something for everyone. It’s sort of one-stop shopping to find all of those things in one location.”

    “I heard an anecdote from a friend the other day who asked her kids if they wanted to go out for ice cream and they said, ‘No, we want to go to The Grasshopper Shop’ so we may need to make T-shirts that say ‘The Grasshopper Shop—Better than ice cream!”

    For more information visit: grasshoppershopofrockland.com

    Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com