Driving toward Mount Desert Island, you’ll pass a small red building decorated with classic wooden lobster traps and buoys. The roadside shop’s signs offer “Deer and sheepskin gloves” and “Buy-one, get-one-free belts.”
Birdhouses shaped like buoys, lighthouses and acorns also draw the eye, luring motorists to pull off Route 3 and into the yard. An old motorcycle serves as a prop for displaying a sheepskin seat cover dubbed “ButtEase.”
“I’m attracted to oddities, functional things and funky decoratives,” said Betsy Meister who owns the BlackSheep Trading Company along with her husband, Peter Lazas. “I like to decorate things with a little funkiness.”
Inside the converted garage, leather and denim jackets and tin signs flank the walls. Suspenders, Slinkys, coonskin caps, moccasin slippers, cowgirl boots and Hawaiian shirts are among the eclectic mix of other merchandise.
The self-described hippie specializes in goods made from Australian and New Zealand medical-grade sheepskin fleece. Rugs, slippers, insoles, mittens, steering wheel covers and seat belt protectors are among the products.
“Sheepskin has a cooling effect, so that’s why it’s so good for sitting on,” Meister explained. “It evaporates moisture from your skin, so you’re never stuck to the seat.”
“To me, the best thing made of sheepskin are insoles,” the Connecticut native related, holding a fluffy white piece of fleece cut in the shape of a foot. “You slip them into your shoe or boot. You don’t have to wear them just in the winter. Your foot slides right across sheepskin, and it goes in and out of shoes nicely.”
Meister grew up on a small sheep farm in Bethlehem, Conn. She and her mother would sell sheepskin rugs at fairs from the back of their station wagon.
“It’s a small little town. When I grew up in grade school we had more cows than people,” she reminisced.
After Meister’s parents moved to Nova Scotia, she and her husband migrated to Maine to be closer to them. They’ve lived in Trenton for 22 years.
While the sheepskin seat covers draw bikers and cyclists, many tourists stop to peruse the old-fashioned fishing gear to take home as souvenirs.
“A lot of people want to bring home part of Maine and decorate their homes,” she said a box filled with old orange bait bags. “People will use these for suet, or they put them in a decorative lobster trap.”
Meister and her husband regularly peruse yard and rummage sales for unique pieces.
“I buy from people who have unusual items,” she said. “I look for something that hopefully nobody else has and is decorative and a little crazy.”
The BlackSheep Trading Company is located at 727 Bar Harbor Road in Trenton. For more info, call 1-(207)-664-7474 or visit www.blacksheeptrading.com.