BINGHAM — Vicki Stanchfield moved effortlessly between the ice cream coolers and customers stopping at the window of Here’s the Scoop ice cream shop Friday afternoon, her pink-and-green apron staying neatly in place as she handed off cones, shakes and sundaes.

Meanwhile, her husband, Scott, alternated between popping into the shop and sitting at a picnic table outside the store alongside the Kennebec River.

It was the first day in a long time that the shop has been open after a fire destroyed it in 2013 and the couple’s plans to reopen were delayed further when Scott Stanchfield was in a bad snowmobile accident in 2014.

“It’s been a tough couple of years,” said Vicki Stanchfield, 55. “We literally had to gut the place out. We needed new paint, new flooring, new windows. There was lots of scrubbing to do to salvage what we could salvage.”

The store will be open Labor Day and weekends for the rest of the month.

Looking at the shop now, it’s impossible to detect the damage that was done in the fire just over two years ago. The walls and outside are painted a cheery shade of green, the pink curtains match Vicki Stanchfield’s apron, and vases of bright white hydrangeas stand in the windows overlooking the river.

The couple, who also own the Riverside Inn next door, were at home the night of March 23, 2013, when the fire broke out around 9 p.m.

The Bingham town garage also was destroyed that night by a fire later determined to be arson. No charges ever were brought in the ice cream shop fire, also attributed to arson.

Vicki Stanchfield said the fire cost the couple $3,200 in expenses after insurance coverage.

They had plans to reopen the shop last year, but that March, Scott Stanchfield was in a snowmobile accident. He was on his way home from riding with friends when he hit a patch of ice and crashed into a tree.

The couple had plans that night to go to North Country Rivers, a bar and restaurant in Bingham, where Scott was scheduled to play guitar. When Scott didn’t come home, Vicki went to North Country to see if he had gone there early with his friends. The employees there told her he had been in the accident and that he was being treated in an ambulance across the street.

When she got there, she was told his heart had stopped and he was being taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

He had brain damage and several broken ribs and was in the hospital for 40 days. The brain injury has caused permanent damage, and Scott Stanchfield said there is little chance he will ever recover fully, despite more than a year of physical therapy.

He doesn’t remember much from his time in the hospital, except that Vicki, his wife of 35 years, drove more than two hours each day to visit him, all the while keeping the inn running on her own.

“Every day she would drive two hours one way to see me,” he said with a smile. “She never missed a day.”

Vicki Stanchfield is quick to correct her husband, reminding him that he struggles with short-term memory and that there were some snowstorms that prevented her from coming to visit on a few days.

Both are also quick to say how much the community helped them getting back on their feet.

Before the accident, Scott had a lot of construction knowledge, but he said initially he would walk into the burned shop and just stand there.

“My short-term memory is gone, so it makes a lot of that day-to-day stuff hard to remember how to do,” said Scott Stanchfield, 56. “I would try to lay tape and I just didn’t know how to do it. I had no construction skills left.”

About a month ago, local hardware store Staples Hardware donated drywall and closed the store to help put it in. Friends and visitors at the inn also helped.

Dick Amidio, a regular at the inn, said he started coming up to Bingham from Massachusetts on weekends to help with the project.

“I think it looks good now,” he said, sitting at the new ice cream counter. “It was a slow process, but I’m happy if Scott and Vicki are happy, and they seem pretty happy.”

As customers stopped at the shop Friday afternoon, they also admired the new store, with its large windows overlooking the river.

“I’m glad to see it back up,” said Larry Buckley, 68, as he enjoyed a two-scoop hot fudge sundae with his wife, Diane. The couple live about five miles away in Concord Township and said they first met Scott and Vicki at “Sunday morning coffee time at the hardware store.”

“They’re very hardworking people,” Larry Buckley said.

“I’m glad it’s open,” said Carol Kiernan, a nurse who works at the Somerset Rehabilitation & Living Center down the road. “It’ll be nice to walk here and get an ice cream.”

In some ways, the Stanchfields say, the fire has been a blessing. When they took over the building about 10 years ago, it was aging and in need of repairs.

“It’s been a big part of my recovery,” Scott Stanchfield said. “Doing these repairs was good practice in getting back those cognitive skills. I would get frustrated, but you just have to move on.”

He’s continuing to practice at re-learning the guitar and hopes that next summer he’ll be back outside the ice cream shop, flipping burgers and listening to Jimmy Buffett.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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