WATERVILLE — Ed West led a tour of his new shop on Appleton Street downtown, stopping at a wood-framed glass case containing a set of turquoise Royal Dalton dinnerware produced between 1912 and 1923.

“It’s a great color — aqua or turquoise,” he said. “I was attracted to the color. The color is amazing.”

West and his partner, artist and photographer Mike Hidalgo, of Waterville, recently opened Lunanightday Antiques & Art at 17 Appleton, right in the heart of a flurry of downtown revitalization that includes the new $25 million residential complex being built by Colby College on Main Street and the college’s recently renovated historic Hains building just across the street.

A networker, West said he is interested in developing an antique and art route to help market niche businesses downtown such as the retro furniture shop Modern Underground and Heirloom Antiques & Vintage clothing shop, both on nearby Temple Street. The route, he said, would help downtown become a destination place.

The shop also joins the recently opened Hathaway Mill Antiques at the Hathaway Creative Center.

The ideas of downtown revitalization, reviving historic buildings and promoting the arts in the city’s center appeal to West, 62, and Hidalgo, 54, who named the shop after Hidalgo’s mother’s maiden name, Lunanightday, which means “moon night day.”

The partners deal primarily in porcelain, glass and silver, as well as original artwork, but also carry furniture in a space that feels like an art gallery with its wood floors and freshly painted walls in an art deco building that also houses Selah Tea. Many offices are in the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hidalgo, who graduated last year from University of Maine at Augusta with an art degree, displays his mixed media works around the shop. The pieces include pen and ink, oil and other media.

The shop features items such as silver tea sets, flatware and trays, as well as porcelain dinnerware and glazed, jewel-toned Majolica pottery from the 1880s. Sets of bronze bells from Cosanti, the Arizona gallery and studio of Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri, lie in a case by the reception area. Included in the collection is a set of bronze wind chimes.

“You would hang them in the yard — basically, if you had a place where there’s a good wind, because they’re fairly heavy,” West said.

He nodded toward a vintage 1960s walnut and ash dining table and two end tables by Lane Acclaim.

“It’s the top-selling pattern that they ever made,” he said.

There’s also a Jean Pouyat floral limoge bowl with gold trim from the 1880s; an old wood tool box, also from that period; a cinnamon-colored vintage Heywood Wakefield corner table from the 1960s; and lots more.

The marriage of art and antiques works perfectly in the 585-square-foot former barbershop, which has a storage space in the basement of equal size, according to Hidalgo and West. Since opening Sept. 1, they have felt at home and have been welcomed, they said. The building’s owner, Sid Geller, pitched in to help prepare the space. When Hidalgo and West were mulling over what type of light fixtures to suspend from the ceiling, building manager Bruce Fowler offered up a set of six unused art deco lights stored in the basement.

Business so far has been brisk.

“It’s been good,” West said. “We’ve gotten a steady stream of people coming in.”

West and Hidalgo are making new friends with employees of Colby and the technology company CGI Group Inc., working in the Hains building across the street; people parking in the Colby-owned lot next door to the shop; and those getting on and off a shuttle from the Colby campus.

“I think we’re here for the long term, because it’s not expensive to be here, and it gives us a place where we can display the things we have on eBay, and Mike can develop his artwork,” West said.

West, who also works for the U.S. Department of Education, is former chairman of the Gilman Street School Neighborhood Association. Several years ago, before the school was transformed into housing, he and the association helped identify what the neighborhood wanted and what it hoped would happen to the historic school building. At the time, Colby students helped survey residents, many of whom were older and said they wanted to stay in the neighborhood, West recalled.

The city is partnering with Colby on revitalization efforts, which include helping to expand and strengthen the arts through Waterville Creates! and supporting existing art-related businesses.

Hidalgo said he likes the fact that new businesses are opening up downtown as part of revitalization and that parents of Colby students who live in the dormitory might patronize the shop. West said the city has tried different approaches to revitalization, and the current efforts will put more people downtown and help it thrive.

“I think we’ve waited many years for something like this to happen,” he said.

The shop is the second antiques business to open in the city this year, with Hathaway Mill Antiques having opened recently at Hathaway Creative Center at 10 Water St.

That business, which occupies 10,000 square feet of the building, is a sister shop of Cabot Mill Antiques in Brunswick and carries a variety of period antique furniture and accessories up to mid-century modern pieces. The multi-dealer shop has antique furniture, art, textiles, glassware, jewelry, pottery, books, china, lighting, stained glass windows and more.

Deborah Shufflebeam, who manages both the Hathaway and Cabot shops, said the Waterville site keeps adding items and hosted a grand opening last weekend.

“You’ll see a lot of additional dealers that have come in to set up booths, and we’re expanding daily,” she said. “We’ve been received very well by the community — not only by the local community — we’re bringing in quite a tourist trade from the lakes area and (U.S.) Route 1, Camden, Rockland and Rockport.”

Like West and Hidalgo, Shufflebeam is optimistic about the local market for antiques and art. Shufflebeam said people are hungry for it.

“We’ve been really well-received, and I think we’re starting to be an anchor, not only for the building but for the city of Waterville as well,” she said.

North River Hathaway, doing business as Hathaway Mill Antiques, is part of Waterfront Maine, a New York-based real estate development firm that bought the Hathaway Creative Center from Hathaway Mill PO LLC in February for $20 million. North River owns the Brunswick mill, known as Fort Andross Mill, as well as other mills in Portland, Boston and New York. Ford Andross Mill formerly was known as the Cabot Mill.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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