Eighteen years ago the big retail space in the Oddfellows building at 96 Main St. hummed with activity. Layers were being peeled away to reveal bricked-in windows, pressed tin ceilings, an expansive brick wall, and hardwood floors.

A farmer and sales rep for Johnny’s Selected Seeds, a retired elementary school teacher, a photo major who had begun to pursue her love of baking, another farmer fresh from four years of painting school in New York, and the guy she met there — also a painter with a bit of cooking experience — were the design, demolition, and construction crew.

Addison and Penny Chase, their daughters Phoebe and Meg, and Freddy Lafage didn’t know at the time that they were sketching the form that their lives would take for the next 18 years, that the place — Chase’s Daily — would touch so many people’s lives and become both a haven and a three-ring circus.

They were a seat-of-the-pants group, a family, guided not by industry norms or a business plan, but by their skills and interests and values. A beautiful space, really good and affordable food, a collective spirit, a farm to table model (when farm to table barely existed), and a commitment to being open year-round for the community, were their guiding principles.

“We have been on an incredible and gratifying journey these 18 years," Penny Chase said in a press release. "It has been all-consuming. Now we find ourselves ready to experiment with new ideas and to seek more balanced lives.”

Indeed, Chase’s Daily has found success, attracting a large following of loyal customers from here and away. The restaurant has received multiple James Beard Award nominations, and the restaurant/farm operation has been featured in numerous publications.

And, while the operation will remain as a bakery, vegetarian restaurant, and seasonal produce market, Chase’s will close May 14 for approximately a week of renovations to accommodate a new business model. The family hopes their new concept will be more sustainable for them, provide smoother and more efficient service, and increase profitability and wages.

Tuesday through Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Chase’s Daily will offer counter service with expanded production from the bakery as well as a variety of made-to-order hot and cold breakfast and lunch options. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 5 to 9 p.m., casual dinner will be offered with table service and a new menu.

The popular Sunday brunch will continue, also with table service and some different menu items. And, as in years past, flowers and vegetables will soon start arriving for the Tuesday through Saturday produce market.

The family, along with their staff, is excited to implement this concept and to pursue some new ideas in the future, both on the farm in Freedom and at the restaurant in Belfast, according to the press release. After the "makeover" week, they look forward to throwing open the doors at Chase’s Daily, much as they did 18 years ago, and inviting customers inside for a fresh experience.

Questions? Contact Karen MacDonald at kmacme@yahoo.com or 505-0658, or Freddy Lafage at perimeter96@gmail.com or 930-0464.