During the 1980s and ’90s, when Camden’s downtown business district seemed to be in constant change, the end of winter meant the “spring shuffle,” when established businesses changed storefronts and new ones moved in. Such a shuffle is occurring now for one of the community’s longstanding members. Howard and Margaret Gallagher are moving their Maine Gathering Inc., Finest Kind Candies and Camden Falls Gallery from Main Street to Bay View Street … and they are moving themselves and their dog Oakley there too.

For the past eight years, Howard Gallagher has used the expression “under one roof” to describe his three retail spaces that have indeed been in the same building albeit leased from two different landlords.

“We’ll now be saying ‘under a brand new roof,'” he said in announcing the move to 8 Bay View St. and, on the backside, 5 Public Landing. The building for many years housed the Owl & Turtle Bookshop and, more recently, Sherman’s Books & Stationery. The Gallaghers are leasing with the option to buy and plan to live on-site as well as operate their existing businesses plus a new one, The Maine Designers Showcase.

After three decades of running businesses in Camden, expansion was not what the Gallaghers had been planning for this phase of their lives.

“We had never planned to move from this location and had hoped to have had the Maine Gathering and Finest Kind Candies sold by now and to be running the gallery as more of a retirement business in a more relaxed and seasonal type of business,” Gallagher said.

Opened eight years ago, the Camden Falls Gallery has grown steadily, holding on to and building its artists base and its clientele. Gallagher said their original goals and objectives of putting art within the reach of everyone and supporting both emerging and established Maine artists have held firm. Having the currently closed gallery, which is on the public landing, accessible from the Main Street businesses proved a real boon for the owners in another way, as well.

“Having the ability to step into the gallery from the hustle and bustle of a Main Street business and enter its peace and quiet and world of color was like an oasis for the soul and spirit,” Gallagher said, adding he is grateful for “everyone who helped make it what it was — staff, artists, clientele and visitors.”

That oasis lost some of its luster for the Gallaghers last year when a deck was built directly in front of its storefront to facilitate Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Roll. Gallagher described the deck as “the last straw in a long and unpleasant side of our business and life.”

“It’s crazy that all the uproar was about Dunkin’ Donuts coming to town and this came in under most everyone’s radar,” Gallagher said.

The new location will keep Camden Falls Gallery on the public landing, “quite close to where I started in 1978,” he said.

Since that starting point, the Gallaghers have operated their businesses on Commercial Street, Elm Street and then right downtown. Moving again is a daunting prospect.

“Many question us giving up such a location; my line 12 years ago was ‘It took me 20 years to get here and I’m not leaving.’ Well, you know what they say about time changing everything,” Gallagher said.

The new location offers more than 3,500 square feet of retail space on three floors and the opportunity to expand the businesses and offer them security in the future of Camden’s downtown business district, Gallagher said.

The couple will make some big changes with the direction and overall feel of the Maine Gathering, expanding the inventory and lines they carry while at the same time reducing and fine tuning their stock. Storage space is a major obstacle they are wrestling with at the moment.

“With the premium you pay for downtown retail space, it really makes sense to store your backup stock and supplies off premises,” Gallagher said. “We’d be very interested in finding an in-town space for storage to rent, someone’s garage or unused building.”

The biggest change will be the new Maine Designers Showcase on the third-floor level, which will feature some of Maine’s top artists and craftspeople in the fields of jewelry, furniture, sculpture and fine craft. Working with artisans is something the Gallaghers have enjoyed over the years at Maine Gathering Inc. and the craftspeople they deal with are working with the couple on new displays and approaches to marketing their work.

“Our general concept will stay the same as we try to provide something for everyone by culling from Maine’s richly diverse bounty of fine craftspeople, from T-shirts from Topper to internationally recognized jewelry designers,” Gallagher said. “The new Maine Gathering will start its fourth decade in its fourth Camden location.”

They do not want to move everything, and so both Maine Gathering Inc. and especially Finest Kind Candies are offering extended discounts. Everything in the Main Street location is 10 to 70 percent off. There will be an indoor yard sale Saturday, March 27 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Saturday, April 3, the day before Easter, there will be free chocolate giveaways. The Gallaghers will close their Main Street doors for good on Easter Sunday and plan to re-open at the new location in late spring.

Gallagher said for him, it has been one long fun, for the most part, ride and he cannot think of a better place to do it than in Camden.

“I owe a great and most appreciative thanks to all those who’ve been part of it and helped make it happen,” he said. “First to Margaret for her continued support, understanding, balance and insight; to our girls Kait and Mara, who continue to help out and be part of my ‘other family’; to all my staff through the years [including] Pam Bardon, who’s stuck with me for going on 30 years; and to those as well who gave us our start and locations in town — Florence Carleton Miller, Mary Alice Foster, and Archie and Isabel Bailey.”

As for personally relocating from Northport to Camden after all these years, Gallagher said he looks forward to just “rolling home after a long day.”

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.