February 6, 2019
A Couple’s Dream Business Becomes Reality at Part and Parcel
Written by Cameron Potts
Biddeford, Maine is one of those places where entrepreneurialsm just seems to happen. In the last few years, dozens of new businesses have opened in its downtown community and in the Mills that dominate the local landscape.
Like many other New England communities, Biddeford has a long, rich history in the textile industry, with massive mills built near rivers. Yet when the industrial economy changed in the 20th centuries, these massive mill buildings lost their significance and use. But that is where entrepreneurs find a way to bring them back to life.
Now, the mills in Biddeford are incubators to new businesses, with new opportunities opening up every day. That spirit has also spilled over into the downtown area as well, including a new venture called Part and Parcel. With its large white spaces and hand-selected goods, Part and Parcel is a place where locals can buy locally sourced products within walking distance of their homes.
Biddeford has seen a renaissance in the last few years with more and more young people moving into the downtown area, looking for opportunities to spread their wings, both from a personal and business aspect. Danielle O’Neill and Ali Preble are two such people. Partners in business and in life, they met in culinary school and saw a need for Part and Parcel in the Biddeford area.
“I moved here for a job at a marketing firm in the mill,” O’Neill said. “I was thinking I was going to leave and not stay in Biddeford, but I met such great people I just knew I needed to stay.”
Alli has a similar story. After culinary school, she came to Biddeford for what she said would be only a few months.
“I moved here in 2011. I hated it,” she said with a laugh. “I left and then was back 9 months later. Now I am never going to leave. The talent in this community is just amazing.”
The two knew they wanted to open a provisions’ store. Part and Parcel was started to be a place to come and get some great wine, food, anything you would need in a downtown location. As they said, it is supposed to be a little bit of everything. At the same time, Preble began to make her signature sandwiches, something people could run in and pick up for lunch or dinner.
“Ali created an amazing selection of sandwiches,” O’Neill said. “We were not expecting that to be 75 percent of our business. We are looking forward to developing more of a dining atmosphere.”
The two partners divide and conquer at work. Preble is the chef and takes care of purchasing anything that is needed for the kitchen. O’Neill does the baking, purchasing for the store, marketing and more. As Preble says, she does basically everything else. And like most small business owners, O’Neill has another full-time job, working for a CPA in town.
Located on Alfred Street right next to another local favorite, Biscuits and Company, the two entrepreneurs designed Part and Parcel around the space they bought. White, with some black accents, they wanted the building to be spacious and clean.
“We found this space and it has a patio out back. We knew we wanted it to be a provisions’ store and a place where you could get small bites. We designed this business around this space. There was a certain aesthetic we were going for,” O’Neill said.
The reception to their store has been positive, but they are taking things cautiously, as all small business owners should. As Preble said, they are being careful and particular in their sourcing, trying new products they think they can move. They look at the packaging and what is in it and like any good owners, they try everything. As they joked, that is always most fun with the wine.