WINDSOR — Toni Turner, a Somerville farmer, promises her new business, The Fusion of Windsor, will have something for everyone.

Turner retired from her job as a nurse to take on the ambitious project, which includes converting the 7,000-square-foot Resurrection building at 243 Ridge Road into a year-round farmer’s market, farm-to-table restaurant, gluten-free bakery, lounge, seasonal beer garden, event venue and wellness studio.

“I want everyone to come here all the time,” Turner told a customer Sunday.

On Sunday, Turner was selling gluten-free baked goods and coffee on a small table and standalone pastry case in about a quarter of one room. The rest of that room, which was being primed for painting, and much of the 7,000-square-foot space, was an obvious construction zone.

Turner said a lot of electrical and construction work will happen within the next two weeks, and her goal is to have a soft opening in mid-February.

Walking through the building Sunday, Turner lauded the building’s large windows at the back of what will be the event venue. She said there will be enough room for a dance floor, seating for 75 and a buffet completely separated from a large restaurant dining room. Down a small flight of stairs will be a “wellness studio,” with rooms for individual practitioners, a yoga and meditation studio and a room for manicures and pedicures.

Turner, who operates the Naughty Goat Dairy in Somerville, said she initially wanted to open a farmer’s market in the parking lot of the Resurrection building so she could sell products from her farm. As talks with the buildings’ owner progressed, she became more interested in a restaurant concept in the building. She said the building was almost sold to restauranteurs four years ago, but potential owners were discouraged by a local ordinance that barred businesses from selling alcohol.

“I figured I could change (the ordinance) if that’s the only thing in the way,” she said.

And she did. Turner was one of a number of people who gathered signatures to change a town rule that barred businesses from selling alcohol for consumption on their premises. In June, the Kennebec Journal reported that residents overwhelmingly voted in favor of two related proposals to overturn that rule.

Toni Turner in the future cafe at The Fusion of Windsor. Staff photo by Andy Molloy

“All my spare time was spent knocking on doors and talking to people,” Turner said. “The townspeople supported the concept of the farm-to-table restaurant, so they supported changing the ordinance.”

With help from a Windsor-based investor, Turner closed on the building, which is a stone’s throw from the Windsor Fairgrounds, in October. Now, Turner is working to cobble together money to support the buildout through small loans and retirement funds.

“It’s going good. It’s moving along” she said. “My plan is always going to change and I have to be ready to roll with that.”

Fusion will also offer memberships, which will give members the opportunity to participate on committees that will help shape the future of the business, as well as earn discounts and other perks. Memberships are $50 for individuals and $100 for businesses, but the program is not being pushed because Turner said she has been too busy to flesh it out.

“It’s going to be very transparent,” Turner said. “I don’t know what I’m doing, so I need feedback (from members and customers).”

Bethany Crummett, of Somerville, was the first person to become of a member of Fusion. Crummett told the Kennebec Journal she has not yet visited the property in Windsor, but she decided to support the project because she lives nearby to Turner and has been tracking the progress on Facebook. She called Turner “brave” to take on such a large project.

“I’m just happy that somebody is doing something with (the Resurrection building),” Crummett said. “I wanted to support that. I can’t wait to go in and see.”

Crummett said Fusion could be a one-of-a-kind business in central Maine, and she hopes more small businesses collaborate with Turner once it is up and running.

“I can’t imagine there isn’t (a need) because there isn’t anything quite like what she’s doing,” she said. “I think there are a lot of people, small business type people, once they get ahold of this, they might join.”

She said the farm-to-table restaurant will be sourced through the same farmers stocking the farmer’s market, who may not have the opportunity to sit through a farmer’s market each weekend. She envisioned the Fusion restaurant to be similar to the popular Rockland farm-to-table restaurant Primo, but with a more accessible price range.

Paula Grotten examines baked items for sale Sunday at The Fusion of Windsor. Staff photo by Andy Molloy

“I want to have food that people are familiar with — upscale, but not unreachable for our clientele because we’re not coastal,” she said. “I want to be the place that people come every Friday night.”

The restaurant’s kitchen will be the same as the bakery, meaning it will also be completely gluten-free. Turner said she wanted people with diet restrictions to be able to dine at Fusion, citing her own struggles finding restaurants to eat at with her own dietary restrictions.

Along with the restaurant, she said there will be a bar to watch sports, a seasonal outdoor beer garden and a number of picnic tables where customers may sit with family or friends.

“It’s going to be cool,” she said. “A really neat, community-type feel is what my hope is.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: