POLAND — Just a few weeks away from opening and there’s a whole lot of work left to be done at Poland Provisions, the massive post-and-beam building across from the Town Office.

For more than a year, the slow and steady progress at 1220 Maine St. has been documented online and watched by passersby as the building that will house a general store, bakery, cafe and community room takes shape.

The sign for Poland Provisions’ storefront sits Wednesday ready for installation on the Maine Street business in Poland. Owners Charley and Sheila Foley hope to open for business the weekend after Labor Day. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Inside, there’s no sense of panic as plumbers and electricians work to finish their projects in the grand two-story structure, while co-owner Sheila Foley tries to grab a quick sandwich in between laying the flooring in the second-floor community area, talking to her general manager, Kim Hackett, about the menu, and half a dozen other things at once.

“I want it to be a place that whenever people come in, they feel welcome and safe and like a part of the community,” Foley explained Wednesday afternoon.

She and her husband, Charley Foley, don’t seem to do anything quickly or without a lot of thought and planning, and that’s what went into the decision to build Poland Provisions from the ground up.

He’s a surgeon at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston and a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve who had to step away for a few weeks for training in Texas. She retired as a major in the Maine Army National Guard last year and is a licensed physician assistant. Both are passionate farmers and owners of Attwood Farm and Kitchen in Poland.


When Charley Foley headed off to Texas, he traded his tool belt for his uniform. Sheila’s mother and father made the drive from Glenwood, Minnesota, to help out on the farm and at the build site.


Poland Town Manager Matthew Garside said Poland Provisions is the biggest construction project of its kind in the town in decades. “I can tell you that folks in town are very excited about that restaurant/bakery opening up, and a lot of people have been asking questions,” he said Thursday.

When the town updated its comprehensive plan in 2021, Garside said feedback from residents put a big emphasis on the need for development of community gathering places. He said Poland Provisions’ goal is in line with that, adding that a lot of people are pulling for the Foleys’ vision to become a success. “We certainly want the very best for them,” Garside said.

The Foleys bought the property in June 2021 and poured the foundation in July 2022. Working with Preservation Timber Framing of Berwick, the couple designed the building and started erecting the skeleton this past winter. They’ve worked with owner Aaron Sturgis on several other projects.

Preservation Timber Framing is also working on a restoration project at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester.

Owner Sheila Foley admires one of the tables Wednesday on the second floor of Poland Provisions in Poland, a post-and-beam building to house a general store, bakery, cafe and community room on Maine Street. The tables were created using World War II Liberty ship hatches found in the Foleys’ barn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal


Entering Poland Provisions, one is greeted with a general store offering locally sourced goods and gifts, a bakery and cafe focused on breakfast and lunch. The plan is to eventually offer prepared takeout dinners.


Upstairs is seating for about 60 in a bright and airy space featuring a cupola. The community gathering spot is where people can eat, talk, play board games and hang out.

Tables are being fabricated and refinished from old Liberty ship hatches from World War II that the Foleys found in their barn. More than 200 Liberty ships were built at a shipyard in South Portland between 1941 and 1945 and Foley said ship hatches can be found in barns all over Maine.

“We just wanted to be able to provide good and healthy food because we raised sheep and beef, and using our own local meat and knowing where your food comes from. And that, yeah, just kept evolving,” Foley said.

They have operated Attwood Farm and Kitchen since 2019, but Foley said she knew they had to expand somehow.

“We were doing so much volume out of our house,” she said, “and we didn’t have refrigerator space and like we couldn’t use our kitchen, we couldn’t eat because I was baking.” Think pies, chocolates, muffins, breads, homemade salsas and caramel apples.

The building has a large commercial kitchen and walk-in coolers where all the baking, cooking and preparation will be done, relocating the Attwood Farm kitchen to Poland Provisions.


Kim Hackett, general manager of Poland Provisions on Maine Street in Poland, works Wednesday on setting up the sales system for the general store, bakery and cafe. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Sheila Foley has cultivated about 30 local producers who will have a space to showcase their wares year-round, not just at seasonal craft fairs.

The Foleys raise sheep and beef cattle, ducks and chickens and the goal is to provide produce from local farms as close to year-round as possible. The artisans and farmers have sought the Foleys out, so there could be one selling leather goods, or another offering iron forge products, or crafted gifts.

Poland Provisions will be open Monday to Saturday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to start. The hours may be tweaked depending on business needs.

The Foleys hired a general manager and already have 15 workers lined up. As they get up to speed, that could increase to about 20.


Asked what’s the biggest lesson she’s learned from the entire experience, Sheila Foley paused and responded simply — patience. “Nothing really has gone to plan, except for, when I look at the building. It is exactly what I envisioned from day one. But the timeline has not.” Neither has the weather, she added.

She offered praise to all the contractors for being supportive and flexible with all the changes and other bumps in the road. Barring any major hiccups, the plan is to open the doors to the public the weekend after Labor Day.

With the end in sight, the emotion was clear. “I just want like,” she started, fighting back some tears, “just to see people come through the door. I feel like this is taking me away so much from the stuff that I used to do, and because I was so much more involved in trying to do things with it for the community. I just want the doors to open.”

Giving back to the community is part and parcel for the Foleys. Looking ahead to Thanksgiving, they partnered with Pleasant Pond Poultry, Bumpus Farm, and Murray McMurray Hatchery to raise between 25 and 35 turkey chicks, which will be distributed to needy veterans in the area. Sheila Foley said they’d like to provide all the fixings for the turkey dinner and each family will likely also get one of her pies.

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