Carol and Tom first met at a party in Ogunquit where mutual friends had gathered to watch a broadcast of the first moon landing. After searching high and low, their host had found a color TV to borrow... only to realize later that the landing was broadcast in black & white.
Less than two years later, in the spring of 1971, Tom and Carol opened their shop together. Since most of their initial inventory was crafted in the living room of their rented farmhouse on Swamp John Road, under the watchful gaze of a photograph of a truly crunchy-looking old Mainer whom they assumed was the road's namesake, they decided to name their new venture "Swamp John's". They sold leather handbags, sheepskin coats and hats, deerskin shirts, custom-made sandals, and - of course - leather belts. They even made a couple of chamois bikinis, which were certainly unique even if they weren't very practical.
Their daughter Danielle joined them in 1974, followed by Jackie in 1981. Over the last 50 years, family has featured prominently at Swamp John's - the girls both worked in the store for many years (until young children and careers further north made that harder to accomplish), and employees either started out as relatives, or soon became as good as family.
Since the very beginning, Swamp John's has featured fine art jewelry. At first, the collection was mostly comprised of work by Carol's sister and brother-in-law - Fretz Goldsmiths of Kennebunkport - and over time it grew to include many other talented and noteworthy metalsmiths, as well. Art glass followed, with our upstairs gallery growing to be one of the largest collections of American Art glass in Maine. Other artistic media keep finding their way into the collection, so while some things at Swamp John's remain constant - commitment to craft, customers, and family - the inventory is always evolving.