“Life changing popsicles” is not just a line on chef and small business owner Abby Freethy’s chalkboard sign outside her shop — she has built her career around the impact that natural, handcrafted food can have on people’s lives. Her newly opened store in Belfast, a blend of her brands Northwoods Gourmet Girl and Wicked Maine Pops, sells organic food and handmade goods.

Wicked Maine Pops is Freethy’s latest entrepreneurial journey; she manufactures her  Northwoods Gourmet Girl products in her Greenville home and headquarters. Her residence in Belfast allows her to split time between her coastal and inland storefronts.

Freethy had a store in Belfast a few years ago solely for her Northwooods Gourmet Girl brand, but closed it to focus on her health after a breast cancer diagnosis. Despite that dark period, she describes Wicked Maine Pops as her “big comeback.” The pops are seasonal — Freethy expects their popularity to fade in cold weather — but the store, and all of its handmade goods, is permanent. “Northwoods Gourmet Girl is an older company,” Freethy explained, “while the (pops) are fledgling.”

The display case at Wicked Maine Pops holds a colorful array of treats. Photo by Cali Warren

Part of the ice pops’ mission is philanthropic. Freethy uses her business to donate pops to chemotherapy floors at hospitals in Maine, saying that the pops “just make you feel better.” She is clear that even though Wicked Maine Pops was born out of the side effects of chemotherapy, it is her “silver lining.”

A Pennsylvania native, Freethy arrived in Maine to stay about 18 years ago. Belfast was a town she “fell in love with from the get-go,” she said, adding, “I feel calm when I’m here. I feel accepted.” She also praised Belfast’s unusual enterprises, saying she enjoys getting to connect with people while managing her business.

Freethy is good friends with Chase Bowles, who owns neighboring vintage store Epoch. He’s one of the many people she said have helped along the way. Freethy also thanked Belfast couple Bob Adler and Anne-Marie Nolin for their support of her business. “I could not have done this without them,” she said.

Freethy is also partnering with Downshift Coffee, a cafe on lower Main Street, to make a coffee-flavored pop she calls the “Straight Up Shifty Eye.” “If I wasn’t a chef, I would’ve wanted to become the person that names lipsticks,” she said of her passion for the unique names of her products. Her ice pop flavors include “Upta Camp,” which is a s’mores-inspired flavor, a black currant and elderflower treat that she creates with fresh, hand-harvested elderflower, and a spicy mango jalapeño pop. The pops are all natural, and her flavors vary with ingredient availability, but Freethy always makes them “fun.”

In addition to her frozen creations, Abby Freethy sells her handmade aprons at Wicket Maine Pops. Photo by Cali Warren

The Northwoods Gourmet Girl store isn’t just dedicated to food. Freethy obtained a degree in textile design before pursuing her culinary career, and it pays off with her handmade aprons. She paints her own designs, then presses them into fabric and sews the wearable art. She also uses slate sourced from Monson to create place cards and chalkboards, and has pieces from her artisan friends, including cutting boards, charcuterie trays and wall art.

Wicked Maine Pops is in the Northwoods Gourmet Girl store at 65 Main St., Belfast.

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