Published: July 13, 2004
Twenty years of cold Maine winters is just about enough, says Gary Guyette of Guyette and Schmidt, Inc. Come January, Guyette and his family head to St Michaels, Md., where he will open a permanent gallery of American waterfowl decoys and related materials. Guyette points out cheerily, “There’s 12 fewer weeks of winter down there!”
The St Michaels area, which includes Easton, is appealing for more reasons than meteorology. It is the center of goose and other waterfowl hunting and the Eastern Shore coastline of Chesapeake Bay is studded with historic maritime communities. It is also the center of the decoy world, says Guyette.
Despite the move and the concomitant expansion, the essence of the 20-year-old partnership will not change. Frank Schmidt will continue to run the operation from West Baldwin, Maine, and thanks to technology, it will be business as usual. The two offices, which are currently two hours apart – which in Maine can be a long two hours – are pretty much identical to the other. They have the same technology, the same digital equipment and the same photography resources. The online Decoy Warehouse will continue as usual.
Several employees will remain in Maine, working from the West Baldwin location, and three others from the Farmington location will make the move to Maryland. Is Schmidt ready to move? “No, not yet,” he laughs, “We love Maine and we love our house.” He says he already spends a fair amount of time in Maryland and notes that he has been hunting and fishing around the Chesapeake for about 25 years.
Schmidt thinks the move is a positive one: “It will do a lot to make life easier!”
Guyette and Schmidt’s new gallery in St Michaels is tailored to meet the needs of their expanding client base. Interest in decoys has exploded in recent years; it is no longer the clubby collecting arena it once was, notes Guyette. More and more collectors have been drawn to decoys through general publicity and the Internet. The new gallery affords display space that the firm has not previously been able to offer. It will also allow Guyette and Schmidt to offer books and a wide range of other decoy material.
Guyette and Schmidt have one other change in the works. The annual Cliff House auction and decoy show in Ogunquit, Maine, moves to the Seaport Hotel on the Boston waterfront in 2005.
Cliff House, which has been the Ogunquit venue for the event for years, has eliminated the space that formerly housed the decoy buy, sell and swap. In addition, the hotel requires a three-night minimum and most of the decoy collectors and dealers only require two nights. The Seaport Hotel, in contrast, has no minimum stay requirements, the ballroom is cavernous and the room rates are on average $100 less than at Cliff House. So for less money, Guyette and Schmidt’s clients get more space, greater flexibility and easier accessibility – the Seaport Hotel is a short ride from Logan Airport and easily reached from major highways.
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