When Gay Dion and her husband, Phillip, bought the building in November 2009, it was tired, weary-looking and had been abandoned for more than two years. It needed a lot of work, Dion said, but she could see a lot of potential in it: It was in a prime spot on Route 1, and there was more than enough space for a kitchen and store. So the couple spent the next six months transforming it into a warm and welcoming space — the perfect setting for The Good Kettle.

The Good Kettle is Dion’s dream project — a carry-out joint that allows her to share her passion for cooking and her love for Maine. Dion, who had been selling soups at various festivals and farmer’s markets, and had also been selling her own line of marmalade, said she always wanted to have a store of her own.

“People enjoyed my soups and popovers and would say, ‘You know, you should do something with this,'” Dion said. “So I thought, ‘Okay, maybe I will.'”

After the couple sold their home, which functioned part-time as Memories Made in Maine Bed & Breakfast, Dion said she felt ready to invest in something she could put her heart and soul into.

“People thought I was nuts to do this,” she said. “It’s a huge undertaking, but I’ve got a lot of energy and I’m having a great time doing it.”

At The Good Kettle, Dion offers a number of her homemade, oven- or microwave-ready entrees (lasagna, mac-and-cheese, chicken marsala, soup), sandwiches made to order, an assortment of Good Kettle sweets (brownies, granola, shortbread bars, muffins, cookies) and Dion’s very own marmalades, which line an entire wall of shelves.

Dion also offers specially ordered, packed picnics. Customers can call ahead, choose items from the menu, and pick up their picnic on the way to nearby excursions — Acadia National Park or Fort Point Lighthouse, for example.

With the exception of the fine wine rack, everything at The Good Kettle is Maine-made, from Auntie Lynn’s Kitchen cheesecake and Stone Fox Farm ice cream to Morse’s Sauerkraut pickles and Maine-brewed beer.

“It was really important to me to maintain and support local business, as well as be supported as a local business,” said Dion, who although she was raised in Rhode Island, spent all of her childhood summers in Stockton Springs and has been living here with her husband for many years.

Also important, Dion said, is the sense that everyone can feel comfortable in her store.

“It is my mission to try to have something for everybody,” said Dion. “The local folks, the tourists, the summer people, the residents from away. There isn’t anything else like this in Stockton Springs, and I think this is a graceful and respectful attempt at change.”

The Good Kettle will celebrate its grand opening Friday, June 18, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The store is located at 247 U.S. Route 1 and is open Thursdays through Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 567-2035.